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163. Lead Happy Schools with Kim Strobel

by Lindsay Lyons
May 14th 2024
00:45:18
Description
In today's episode with special guest Kim Strobel, Lindsay discusses how to lead happy schools as an educator. 
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Hello, I'm Leah. I'm part of the team that produces this podcast and today, I'm happy to introduce our guest, Kim Strobel, who's a renowned motivational speaker and author of Teach Happy Small Steps to Big Joy Sought after by schools, businesses and organizations worldwide. With her powerful messages about the impact of happiness on well being and the pursuit of fulfillment. She traverses the globe sharing her insights, kin specializes in empowering educators and professionals equipping them with the necessary tools and strategies to shift their mindsets, reclaim their happiness, reignite their passion and lead with purpose. I hope you enjoy this episode, educational justice coach Lindsay Lyons. And here on the time for teacher podcast, we learn how to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice design curricula grounded in student voice and build capacity for shared leadership. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach. I'm striving to live a life full of learning, running, baking, traveling and parenting because we can be rockstar educators and be full human beings if you're a principal assistant superintendent, curriculum director, instructional coach or teacher who enjoys nering out about co-creator curriculum of students.

I made this show for you. Here we go. Kim Stel. Welcome to the Time For Teachers Podcast. Thank you, Lindsay. I'm so excited to talk about this topic. Oh, my gosh. And what a topic? I, I think that many folks are going to be really, I don't know if excited is the right word because I feel like sometimes it's like, oh, I'm working through something hard is like, excitement isn't the first thing, but you'll be excited by the end of the conversation. It was like, take you through like the challenges for sure. And then just really be like, yeah, that was necessary. And for leaders listening as well, like in addition to, I think the topic for individual leaders also thinking about your teachers. Oh my gosh. Yes. So much, so much to learn from you. I'm really excited and so to frame the episode today, is there anything that you would like to share? Either topic wise, like preparing folks for the topic we're about to get into or sometimes with a, a formal bio? People feel like there's more to me than just what's on the written word on the page. And they want to kind of share a little bit about themselves, anything in either direction that you'd like to share to ground us in the conversation today? Yeah.

Well, I appreciate that sometimes I feel like bios are so boring and you know, when I'm giving a keynote speech, it's like, I feel like there's so much better if the person just kind of picks little pieces from the bio and then tells about the person. But, um, I, I taught, uh, mostly at the elementary level in fourth grade was where I spent a tremendous amount of time. Um And then from there, I became like a literacy coordinator for grades K through 12, which was a great opportunity to really look at classroom instruction across the board. Um, and then from there, I jumped into a curriculum director. So I feel like that's helpful in my perspective of understanding how this applies to school leadership. Um But then I just kind of kept building this urge to um start my own business. And I actually did work for another company for a year consulting and felt like that was my jam. But um my value system didn't really match up to theirs. And so I remember at the time I was 39 and, and I'm almost 50 now and I was like, you know, I just decided after a year to quit and I was like, oh, my gosh, I've, I've had a job since I was in the fifth grade, Lindsay.

Like, literally I babysat I've never not had a job and it was super scary. Um But that's when I went to work as a curriculum director for um a few years and then, like started to massage my own idea of how can I really bring what is like, so near and dear to my heart. How do I bring it to the world? And so I launched struggle education in 2016. Um And my husband who always supports me and like gets behind me. It literally sent him all the way off the cliff because he was like, what do you mean you're gonna give up like a steady paycheck and, and insurance and like, I wanna back you. But I'm super scared and I just kept saying like, there's this like, I just, it was almost like I could not, not do it, Lindsay. And um so we got my husband and some counseling for a few months so that he could get behind me and he got behind me. And um yeah, now it's evolved to like, you know, like you, I have a team of girls who go into the field and do a ton of on site trainings on anything from the science of reading to um standards based grading all of these topics.

And then I kind of stepped into the lane of motivational speaking because that's my jam now. Um And so, you know, I'm gonna share like what a hard road this has been because sometimes we can take the pain of our lives and turn it into purpose and I'm happy to back that story out when you're ready so that people understand that just because I'm a motivational speaker and a happiness coach now does not mean I'm like, sunshine and rainbows and sprinkles and rah rah rah because I can't stand that. Lindsay, that's like toxic positivity. I was gonna say toxic positivity. Yes. Oh my gosh. Thank you for grounding us in that. And, and I think I, I am really excited to hear that story. I think one of the first questions they typically ask is like, what's the dream? And so specifically, I think about Doctor Bettina Love talking about freedom dreaming. And so a lot of the work that we do is around justice and and just making the world and our schools and our is better, right? For, for everyone. And, and so when she talks about it, she says their dreams grounded in the critique of injustice, which I just, I love the words there.

And so given that, what's what is the big dream that you hold for the field of education for, for people generally, I mean, your, your work touches everybody. Thank you. I think, well, I mean, one of my whys behind why I started this, this business is when I was 1/4 grade teacher, I taught a student who just completely derailed every single thing that I was doing in the classroom. He was like the Tasmanian devil. He would come in each day. He had no interest in learning. He couldn't sit still, he poked and prodded and you know, other kids. And I thought I was taught early on that. It really starts with relationships. And so I just kept pouring into the relationship. And about halfway through the year we discovered that he cut, came from this very traumatic home life where dad wasn't in the picture. Mom was an alcoholic. She was completely unavailable in the bedroom all day and all night she wasn't working, the electricity had been turned off. And I always say that Corey, like I was his fourth grade teacher.

Honestly, he ended up being my teacher because when we heard his story as a class, it completely shifted everything and how we operated with him. And I'm happy to say that three years ago created the impossible. He graduated from college. He has a job. He got married. I got to attend the wedding. I mean, I'm still in contact with him. But one of the things he said to me, Lindsay was not a lot of people believed in me back then and, and you were one person who did. And so it kind of left me with this feeling of just great compassion for the kids who walk in our doors. I can never tell this story without tearing up because he's so near and dear to my heart. But you know, I guess my thing is is that, that, that students come to us with all different talents and capabilities and academic intelligence. And sometimes we have too much of a focus on academic intelligence. And I actually think that the reason Corey has been able to persevere is because he's had to do it his whole life. And um but I was just kind of like, you know what I wanna empower every single teacher to believe in their students to 100% let them know so that there is no another Corey who walks out of the classroom and doesn't know he is believed in that his success is possible and to teach him to believe in himself.

So I think that my dream is definitely for kids to know that they have value and for teachers to sometimes make that front and center. But it's really hard to do because of all the expectations that are placed on teachers. And, and so then my other why of course, and it's the premise for the book that I have coming out. My first ever book that took me 10 years because Kim's trouble didn't believe in herself to write the book. Um But my book, teach happy small steps to Big Joy. The big why behind that is as I started to work with teachers, my heart went out to them because they, they want to serve in this noble sacred profession. They, some of them have known from early on this is what they're supposed to do. But in all honesty that they've shared their stories of just complete um anxiety and, and depression and, and truly not even knowing how to get off of this hamster wheel. That is sinking them because I call an ace and ace. And this profession is, it's absolutely drowning people.

And so they, the reason for the book was, you know, what I'm gonna teach them how to take their power back. That's what I wanna do. I wanna teach the teachers how to take their power back so that they can show up in this profession as the best version of themselves for themselves first and also have and be able to reclaim their happiness outside of this profession, you know. And so I feel like my big dream kind of has like those two things at the forefront that like drive me day in and day out. Oh, I love that, right? Because it is because we are here for the students. So I love the idea of like belief in students and we cannot do it well if we don't show up for ourselves wonderfully, like, I love that dichotomy there and how they really just feed into one another. Oh, wow, that's good. Thank you. And, and so I, I wanted to get back now to what you were saying about how you know, you, you, you have your own path and your own story of, of things you wanted to share. And so I, I'd love to just give space for you to be able to share as much of that as you feel comfortable with and, and thank you for your willingness to share your story.

Yeah. Well, first of all, I love that you talk as fast as me, Lindsay. We, we aren't messing around like we're like, it's on that. Um, yeah. Well, I think that, you know, sometimes when I step on a stage and, and it could be, you know, 100 people and it could be 6000 people and it's just really easy to see this girl in this stellar dress, walk up on stage and I'm introduced as a happiness coach and I fly across the country and I always think like those people sitting there, they're thinking, wow, you know, she has it all together, like what an amazing life she has. And I am so far from that. And so I do have an amazing life, but it really has come out of my own, very deep, very uh traumatic pain. I, I've had several of those experiences in my life, but, but one in particular was that I suffered from, um, an anxiety disorder called panic disorder for many, many years back when we didn't even know what anxiety disorders were. So I never got properly diagnosed until in my twenties.

Um And so, you know, my life, Lindsay got very small. I struggled to be at home by myself as a 22 year old married woman. I couldn't stay at home by myself hardly. I couldn't drive. I mean, I would drive my car five minutes to my secretary's job because of course I had quit college because I, I couldn't be there. I was having these episodes day in and day out. I thought I was crazy and I, I was just like, I couldn't even function normally. Um, going to Walmart stepping in Walmart, like all of those things were just crazy, crazy, difficult. And I know for people who have never had a panic disorder, it's like they logically cannot wrap their head around it. But what I tell people is, I want to put you in the space of what it felt like for me for just a moment. Um If I were to place you on a train track, Lindsay and I told you like, you're, you're chained to the train track, you cannot get off and a train was coming at you at like 200 MPH. And I said, you know what Lindsay, you're safe, like the train is gonna stop, it's gonna stop one inch before it hits your nose, but it, you're not there.

I promise you you're not in any danger. And I want you to think about obviously being on that train track and seeing that train barreling towards you. You would feel like you literally, it would be the biggest like feelings of terror of your life for me. I was feeling that day in and day out like feelings of like this, this episode would come over me and I would feel disoriented and nervous and terrified and scared. And think I was losing consciousness and shaking all over. But the problem was is there was never a train, there was never anything that could logically tie my brain to that, which means you get even more scared because you can't tie any reason to why this is happening. And so this was happening multiple times a day for many years. And I really did get to the point, Lindsay where um like I didn't wanna die, but my suffering was so intense that I really just lay down, you know, on my bath mat, rav one time.

And I really did plead with God. And I just said, you know, I don't, I don't know how you need to do this. I don't know if you should kill me in a car accident. Like I just need you to take my life. I don't want to go this way, but I can't keep doing this. And um you know, I am a spiritual person and I heard the message that was something like Kim get up off that back mat. And then I heard a version of these words which was you are made for more. And in fact, Lindsay, that's what helped me really step into what I call my divine destiny. I ended up going to a doctor getting a diagnosis, being put on Zoloft, being sent to a psychologist to do cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy. And at that time, Lindsay was the self help field it just started to come to fruition and I read everything I could get my hands on and I've been lit up with it since then. And so there's always like this thing, like, how do you really take the girl who struggled to walk to her mailbox and say, oh, you're gonna be on a stage with 5000 people.

And in fact, you're gonna do the thing that every single person almost is afraid of. Um But for me, this is important to my story because Lindsay, you might not have panic disorder. The 500 people in my crowd might not have panic disorder. But what I do know is that almost all of us have had something that was really hard to get through in our lives. Most of us have had some type of injustice or trauma or adversity or challenge or we might be in it right now and we feel alone because we do not talk about the heart of our lives. So when you said at the beginning, basically, what you said reminded me of like, we can't get to the good stuff unless we talk about the hard stuff too, you know. And so I feel like now when I step on the stage, I take like this super fierce energetic woman with me. But what I've also learned to do is take the Kim that was really, really scared and sometimes is even scared still at times in her life.

And she's allowed to come with me because she deserves some space too. She deserves some compassion because I used to push her away. Right. Um And so for me, I think that while I'm in the education space, it's really honoring that there is, there's these valleys that we have to get through and these mountains to climb, but we don't have to do it alone. And in fact, there's a pathway of hope for each and every one of us. Wow. Thank you so much for, for sharing your story. And I do think there's a lot of folks who probably can connect even, even to the very specific diagnosis that you and I know a lot of teachers face uh maybe generalized anxiety and in some degree of thought. So I do, I think that that resonates regardless of, you know, whatever diagnosis each individual listener has. And they also think about, you know, for leaders, teachers that have diagnoses like this or experiences like this, your students, right? I think there's, there's so much um so much in the world right now as you spoke to that is challenging.

And so I'm curious to know, I, I love, I wanna say first, I think that I love the idea of bringing the Kim Verdon who is scared or um feeling the panic with you onto the stage. And I am wondering if there, if, if that was, you know, that seems like a mindset shift. I think a lot of the work that we do is often mindset shifty in some way. And so I'm wondering if, if there was a mindset shift there that you want to talk us through or if there's another mindset shift that you usually talk people through to be able to get on that, that track of, of help and action and kind of confronting the challenge to be able to get to a space like you are today. Yeah. And honestly, that work probably just took place in the last two years. Lindsay, I've spent my whole life trying to overachieve in every single area of my life, whether it's my business. Um You know, I'm a runner. I don't just, I never, I don't do anything halfway. And then my husband says, you know, why are you always like such an extremist? Like it, it's, it's just like you, you, you know, you're just like, oh, I'm gonna do it like I'm running a marathon this year and he's like, my husband is like, oh my God, you're just so old, you know.

But what I've begun to recognize Lindsay is that, that has been my mind's way for years of pushing away what I have considered this very weak and very feeble and, and, and, and I'm embarrassed of the Kim that felt so inadequate and so deeply flawed. And I know, and I haven't quite broke the achievement cycle for sure. I mean, part of it is, I think I'm just wired that way. But I also know that I hustle a lot for my worthiness and I feel like I've done that to kind of put that little Kim in place and gone. Like, you know what, you sit back and you watch me and because you don't even deserve any space, like I'm keeping you in your place. And so I listened to this podcast where Doctor Russell Kennedy was on the Mel Robbins podcast and he wrote a book called Anxiety Rx. And it's really this whole new way of looking at how do we kind of begin to heal the, the anxiousness inside of us or the depression or whatever it might be. And one of the things he said is you can't heal it until you extend compassion towards it.

And so we're our own inner critics. I always say, like we would never talk to our friend or our child the way that we talk to ourselves. And um my inner critic has a name. Does, do you have an inner critic, Lindsay? I do, but I haven't named her. I don't even know. Yeah, I've named her and I've even drawn her out and her name is Ethel and Ethel is like relentless. And I don't know if you remember Monsters Inc but there was this character on there with these snakes as her hair. Like that's what I envisioned. She's got like a red fiery lips and she's always trying to like keep me in check. And um what I have found is, is that why would I not extend compassion for the little girl, the teenage girl, the girl in her twenties, the girl, why would I not say? Gosh, that must have been really, really hard for you. I feel for you. And in fact, I'm going to acknowledge you and I'm going to love you because you, you deserve to be loved.

There is nothing wrong with you. What you went through was so hard and so difficult and I'm gonna learn to embrace you. And so for me, I had to help hold a vision of what that looks like. And that vision was, you know what, let me grab your little six year old hand because even then you were super anxious and let me let you walk on that stage with me because you're such a part of who I am and the work that I'm doing and you know, for, for teachers and educators, Lindsay, I walked out the glass doors every day after teaching with like my shoulder slumped and my head down and maybe I had done 98 things right that day. And I screwed up too like I engaged in a power struggle with a student that I shouldn't have and sent him even more over the edge. And I would kind of get the good old ball and chain out and I would whip myself across the back and now I'm like, don't you dare do that teacher? You be better than Kim's trouble. You walk out that door every day with your head held high and your shoulders back and you give yourself some darn grace.

You focus on the 99 darn things that you did right in your life. And don't you dare let that inner critic come out and chastise you for the one thing that you messed up that day. Oh my gosh, so many things they are saying that I just want to like draw connections to and connect to. So I'm bringing my own therapy here. So I think that resonates a lot with me, the the idea of extending compassion to a either a younger version of ourselves, a former version, even if it was like earlier that day, right? That has been a huge key and unlocking a lot of forgiveness and compassion for myself. And so I, I think that is huge and I wanna just like double down on that recommendation. And I think in the just this world as well, there is this kind of striving for perfection. There is this avoiding things because I don't want to make a mistake and I have to do it just right. And if I make a mistake, that means I should never try again, right? And, and so this perfection actually inhibits our, our progress. And so as a as a person who is committed to justice. I think for me, I, I talk a big game of like, oh, you know, mistakes are how we learn.

And it's like if I make a mistake, I hold myself to that super high standard just like teachers do with students. And so I think it's really interesting that when we can extend the compassion and say, like I have compassion for myself and like, I know that, that I screwed up with that student and the the power struggle, I'm going to make it better tomorrow, right? Like both can be true. And I think that both can be true with something that's really hard to hold for people and it's revolutionary. I also was just reminded of um I don't remember Gotman. I think it's the marriage therapist who does the 5 to 1 ratio I got. Yeah. Yeah. And explain that Lindsay because that's a great example. Yeah, just that I you could probably explain it better than I can. But just the idea of there's five positive to every one negative sustains a healthy relationship. And so I think about that with our own inner relationships, right? Like, remember the five positives, like there's only one negative allowed for every five positives if you want to focus on two negative, like let's rally up the 10 positive. Absolutely. And you know, I think that you're right. I think that most school teachers and school leaders are sort of type a anyway.

Um they're very driven, they're very ambitious, they want everything to be perfect. And I actually think now that one of the reasons I've been able to be successful in this space is because I started to allow myself to do it and do it imperfectly. So for example, Lindsay, I, I had never been a motivational speaker. I had never stepped on a stage. I just decided one time, I'm gonna slap that on my website and I'm gonna start calling myself one and, and I was skiing in Colorado with our son and I got halfway down the mountain and clicked on my email and um, a school of 900 wanted to hire me. And I was like, oh my gosh. So, like, I'm sitting there that August in the front row and I'm like, Kim, struggle. What again, your husband is, right? Why do you have to push yourself into such uncomfortableness? Like I, these people, they don't know that I've never in my life done this and it's, it's probably not gonna be stellar. It's probably not gonna be the best thing they ever heard. But Lindsay had I not done that because today I'm good.

Right. Like I'm really good at what I do. I got a lot more to learn, but I'm good. And if I had never taken that chance, if I had never said, you know what Kim, all you gotta do is, is do it and let it be a little less than so that eventually you can grow it and get better. Then I wouldn't be having this business. I wouldn't be speaking across the country. And so I have this new phrase that I try to live by that I came up with, I'm super proud of myself and here's what it is. Are you ready? Hi. This is Leah popping in to talk about this episode's Freebie, the Gratitude habit Tracker by Kim Strobel. You can find it at the blog post for this episode www dot Lindsey Beth lines.com/one 63. Check it out. Now, back to the show. It is perfectionism is the lowest standard you can hold yourself to. I like that a lot. Good. Yeah. But let me just say Lindsay, I can preach this stuff all day long and I'm still learning like this is that does not mean that Kim's trouble. Has it all figured out?

In fact, when you teach others, you do get better at it. But this is not to say that, you know, I know what I need to do, but I'm still struggling with some of those areas in my life. And I, I love you. You brought up basically self love too. You know, we don't know how to love ourselves. Um And when we figure out how to do that, it opens up everything for us. Yes, absolutely. And, and I think you're so we're kind of getting into too like what are those actions you can take so the person listening, right? Who's like, OK, I'm resonating. I'm like, I'm hearing myself a lot and what we're talking about, what are the things that I do? And I, I think both ways, however, the listener kind of wants to take this, I think is probably how they can but individually but also like, as a leader in an educational space. Like, what does that mean for the school or the class culture that I, that I lead and I'm responsible for like, what are those things to be on the lookout for? Because I imagine there's some internal work we can do. And then there's also maybe some like structural things or culture things that we can shift as well. Am I am I right in that? Yeah, you are and I could speak on this like all day long because I felt like there's so many pieces to it and, and you know, each chapter of the book is really dedicated towards like here's all the different things, but I always tell teachers this is not about doing them all.

Like you're gonna pick one, you're gonna pick one and we're gonna move the needle by 1% or you're gonna move the needle as a school leader by 1% because that 1% starts to act as combined interest, you know, but sometimes I think it's like, oh my gosh, I'm adding one more thing to my plate and look Kim struggle. I can't even breathe right now. And now you're telling me to do this, you know. So yeah, let me talk you through that. So what we know about the happiness research and why happiness needs to come to the forefront is that we used to think that if we jumped through all these hoops and we achieved all of these things and we got our college degrees and we got good jobs and we made decent money and we got the nice house that once we do all of those things, we've arrived at happiness. But the last, you know, 30 years or 40 years of research has actually proved that it's completely opposite that if you wanna be successful in your life, whether that's in your marriage or you wanna be successful with your physical health, or you wanna be successful in feeling good in your parenting role. If you wanna feel good in your finances, if you want to feel good in your career, that when we teach you how to put your happiness at the forefront of your life, that is when we change every other ll lever.

And so what we know is that everybody has what's called a set baseline happiness level. So maybe my baseline level is here, Lindsay and maybe yours is 10 points higher than mine. And so what this means is that good things can happen in you and I's life like maybe we're gonna go shopping today or maybe um we're gonna do something fun or uh maybe we, we got a bonus check in the mail and we're like, oh my God, they gave us an extra $100 you know, and our happiness level goes up and it might go up for two hours or two days or two months. But it's always gonna come back to whatever your baseline is and the same is true, believe it or not. For when we endure hard things, the research proves over and over again that you can go through trauma, injustice, loss, disease. Uh You can go through these challenging times and that for most human beings you do reset back. And so then people go. But where does our baseline come from? And why is Lindsay's different than mine? And so I want you to envision a pie chart.

And what we know is that 50% of your long term happiness, Lindsay is genetic comes from your mom or your dad or a mixture of both. And it's so funny, Lindsay, when I tell this to the crowd, I see 80% of the heads drop and they literally whisper, I'm so screwed. But there's just this genetic piece that, that is how our brain works. OK? But I don't want you to lose hope. The shocking piece for people is that if I took every single external circumstance that you've ever had in your life, Lindsay, what kind of home did you grow up in? Did you grow up in, you know, poverty or not? Did you have parents who were divorced or together? You know, were you bullied, weren't you? Uh what experiences have you had in your adult life? You know, like did, are you divorced? What kind of money do you make? What kind of job do you have? We can take everything and throw it into the pie. And what we know is that only about 10% of your long term happiness comes from those external circumstances.

But if you're like Kim Strobel, you let it, you let circumstances and people still way more than 10% of the pie. Are you guilty of that? Lindsay? Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And so the part that really fires me up is if there's 50% genetic and 10% comes from our external circumstances that leaves 40% of the pie. And what we know is that every human being can increase their happiness levels by up to 40%. And it has to do with these three things, the actions you're taking daily, the behaviors you exhibit. Oh Lindsay. Look at the balloons. My computer's been doing this for folks listening on the podcast. There was just balloons on our Zoom call. It was amazing. Cheering us on Yeah. So actions, thoughts and behaviors, actions, thoughts and behaviors. And so in the book, I focus a lot on what are those and what is it as people who serve in this super demanding profession.

How, how do I really create more ease in my life? How do I create some space to breathe? How do I not let this job suck everything out of me to where I'm going home and I can't even show up for my kids because I'm so exhausted and I certainly don't even know how to show up for myself. And so, so there's a lot of habits, but when it comes to school, culturally, one of the top five happiness habits is the social connections. And that is what are the relationships in the school with my staff? How are we operating? What is that vision? What is that belief system? How do we treat one another? How do we, uh, you know, honor differences of opinions, how do we invest in each other? And so, and this is, of course, outside of the school too. This is our friendships and our marriage and, and these things are critical to our well being. Um, but the other one I want to talk about and I actually want to leave your listeners with, with a, a tip that's gonna make a difference in this 40% right out of the gate.

So the second happiness habit that falls in the top five. And of course, everybody is like, what's the top five, Kim? Well, you're gonna have to read the book because Lindsay said we got 30 minutes and I'm scared, I'm down to four. But, um, truly, it's the practice of gratitude. We've all heard this. Oprah preached this to me for years. I still didn't do it, but I wanna tell you what the research says and then I'm gonna tell you why it works because when you understand the why behind it, you're now motivated to do it until the research says that if I can get you to write down three different things that you're thankful for each and every day, per say 21 to 30 days. That after that time, Lindsay, I actually rewire your brain and I rewire your brain to be a little bit more towards positive versus negative, neutral or stressed. And what that means is is that you begin to go through your day and you start to notice more good than bad.

And when you notice more good than bad and when you do get your brain too positive, here's what we know changes. A positive brain is 31% more productive at their job. Then when their brains at negative neutral or stressed, a positive brain is 10 times more engaged in their job, which means they're actually able to get through their workday quicker and more efficiently. A positive brain is three times more creative, which means it can come up with solutions to problems that the brain didn't see before it can see opportunities that were there the whole time. But because our brain wasn't stressed and pieces of our brain are actually shut down and inaccessible, we cannot see them. And so I wanna tell you why it works. Lindsay, if you're an average human being, you have about 70,000 thoughts a day, 70,000, we're halfway through the day. Lindsay, you've already had 35,000 thoughts and those thoughts are firing mostly from our subconscious brain.

We're not even aware of them because they're just on automatic all day long. And if you're an average human being, what we know is that 80% of your thoughts in a day's time are negative. So when you put your head on the pillow at night, you've probably had 56,000 negative thoughts. And some of you were like, oh Kim's trouble. I do not believe that. Well, let me just tell you, let me take you back to the 1st 30 seconds of your day when your alarm went off because some of you literally the alarm went off and you went uh and then you go, I didn't get enough sleep and then you got off and you start thinking like your knees hurt and then you get in the bathroom, you're like, I don't wanna do this day and then you're like, oh there's a fever blister that broke out. Oh, these pants are too tight. Like some of you had 72 negative thoughts within the 1st 30 seconds of your day. And, and this is because we're wired this way. We actually have this thing in our brain called an Amygdala. And the Amygdala was part of our brain all the way back from caveman cave woman times. And then the Amygdala S number one job is to scan 24 7 for danger to pick up any negativity in order to protect you.

But the issue is it's 2024 and there's not a saber toothed tiger Lindsay when you walk out of your office and go down the hall to the bathroom, but yet our Amygdalas are still wired this way. And that's why we have these kind of constant streams of negativity in our brain. And here's what's even crazier of the 80% of thoughts that are negative Lindsay, 95% of the 80 are the exact same thoughts you had the day before. Interesting. Wow. I know. I know. And so when I can get you to write down three different things, what we do is we create a new neural feedback loop in your brain and the more you do that, the stronger that loop gets. And it means that you're gonna start to take this other roadway more and more and more. And I always tell people like I did this with my students. We started every day with like 90 seconds of gratitude. All 27 students would say I'm thankful for this. I'm thankful for this. I'm thankful for this. So I exposed him to 27 gratitudes within the 1st 90 seconds And then at the end of the day, we got our gratitude journals out and we jotted three things down because you know what Lindsay, you know, we're in this profession to teach kids how to read and write and understand science and math.

But honestly, we want them to go out into the world and walk out our doors and be good human beings. And like you said, know how to contribute to the world in a positive way, know how to make a difference, know how to fight for those injustices. And so um and I have a gratitude tracker that I'll give you the link to if you want and you can download it and it gives you five props or it gives students if you want to use it for students, five areas to begin looking for gratitude in their life. And then there's a 21 day tracker, but I just use a notebook and I just write the date. I just write, you know, whatever the date is and then I write the words, I am thankful and then I jot them down. But, but I do want to give you a piece of advice too. Actually, one I want you to be specific. I don't want you to write the word health down. I want you to say even though I've been sick, as you told me, you had been, I'm actually feeling myself getting better and I'm thankful for that. I'm not some people like, oh, I'm thankful for my family. Be specific. I'm thankful that my son who's 23 years old has decided he's not gonna be a college punk anymore now that he's out in the real world world and he actually calls and texts his mom almost daily, you know.

And so um just be specific and then this is gonna go back to compassion and love Lindsay. But I always encourage people to make one of their gratitudes, something that they appreciate about themselves. And let me tell you what. When I do this in a workshop, people are stunned, they sit there, they're like, I don't even know what to write about myself because it feels so uncomfortable to give ourselves a compliment. And isn't, isn't that sad that we've been trained to think? Because I always say no one does more for you in a day's time, Lindsay than you. Nobody has shown up and nobody has done more for Lindsay in a day's time than Lindsay. And doesn't she deserve a little recognition? Doesn't she deserve a little pat on the back? You know. And so that's one of the top five happiness habits. And I'm just gonna tell you, it will change your life, it will change your life if you implement that. Oh, I love it. And so yes, I think that's something you could do like right now, right? Listeners who are ending up there just go grab that tracker. We'll link it into the blog post for this episode.

Grab that, download it, use it. And for leaders, I'm thinking of all the spaces that exist in school systems where you could just integrate that. Like we're starting a team, meeting a grade team or a department team, everyone shares a gratitude, right? Like that's the do now for the class with my students, right? Everyone shares the gratitude. We are doing a um like post observation debrief with a teacher, right? What did you think? Went well? Like gratitude for yourself in that lesson, right? I think there's so many great spaces and you gave us so many concrete examples that I absolutely love. Oh my gosh, thank you. And I think just to, I could honestly talk about this all day. And I'm like, oh wow, look at the time just to kind of wrap this up a bit. One of the things that I love asking at the end of every episode and this can totally relate to our conversation or totally not relate. What is something that you personally, Kim Strobel have been learning about lately? Oh my gosh. Well, you know, I'm just like, I'm always reading some type of self help book. Um So, oh gosh, there's just so many, well, what I've been learning a lot lately is that 5% of how we show up in life comes from our conscious mind and the conscious mind is like, you know, it's the present day mind of like thinking and having thoughts in the mind that says, oh, I need to do this and I need to do that.

And I need only 5% of how we uh go about our day um comes from our conscious mind and 95% Lindsay, 95% of how we show up for life and how we succeed in life. It comes from our subconscious mind. It's like an iceberg. You only see the tip but there's this giant thing. And so one of the things that makes up the subconscious mind is beliefs. And did you know Lindsay that most of us had all of our beliefs formed by the time we were six years old? Wow. As the parent of a toddler, I'm really thinking about that one. I know it came from your parents and how you saw them, navigate relationships, how you see them, navigate the world, the interactions comes from your teachers. And so my work recently has been to pull out these old belief systems that I've held on to and to extract them and download a new internal blueprint, right? A new belief system because that belief system is guiding in, in, in and showing me day in and day out what I'm capable of.

Oh, I love that. And so your book, by the time this airs will be published available for purchase, where can listeners get it? Where can they contact you or just follow what you're doing, where are all the places and we'll link to everything you share too in the blog post. Yeah. Yeah. So they can go to Amazon. Um And then one of the really fun things I'm doing this year is I'm booking uh keynotes and conferences and school keynotes is I'm doing a book signing. And so, I mean, I think the book's gonna be like 2425 bucks or something. But if we do bulk orders for schools, then they're 15 bucks. And so I love it because like now I get to connect with teachers up to the keynote. Like I can do, I can sign their book, I can chat with them, I can hug them. Um And so I'm so excited to put this out into the world because I believe that it offers a blueprint for how to get out of the chaos and how to reclaim the happiness and the goodness that wants to come to them so that they can start to breathe again and that they know that they are worthy of that, right? A lot of it is like being worthy and understanding.

You don't have to do it all. In fact, what I wanna do with this book is extract those old belief systems that you've been carrying and start to create a new one that's gonna help make you really, I mean, it's all about feeling good, Lindsay. We wanna feel good in our life, not all the time. I mean, I was crying on the floor two weeks ago, you know, but I have a set of strategies that pick me up and get me out of the gutter quicker now. Oh, fantastic. Thank you so much for your vulnerability for your very research based actions that you shared with us. And just for your uh like the energy that you carry is palpable through the screen and through people's earbuds or however they're listening. And I just love that you seem to really walk the talk and like do the things and you're committed to the work that you're asking other folks to do, which I just absolutely admire and love. Thank you. Oh, you're so welcome. I appreciate that Lindsay. I do feel like there's a lot of people showing up in this space right now and they, that's kind of a pet peeve of mine. It's like, don't be promoting all this stuff on social media or sending your newsletter out, but then you got different actions going on behind the scenes, you know.

So I really do appreciate that. You see the realness of who I am and um in my website, by the way, I, I forgot to mention that. But if people want to connect with me, it's just struggle. Education.com Beautiful. Thank you. I'll put that in the show notes. If you like this episode. I bet you'll be just as jazz as I am about my coaching program for increasing student led discussions in your school, Shane Sapir and Jamila Dugan talk about a pedagogy of student voice in their book Street data. They say students should be talking for 75% of class time. Do students in your school talk for 75% of each class period. I would love for you to walk into any classroom in your community and see this in action. If you're smiling yourself as you listen right now, grab 20 minutes on my calendar to brainstorm. How I can help you make this big dream a reality. I'll help you build a comprehensive plan from full day trainings and discussion protocols like circle and Socratic seminar to follow up classroom visits where I can plan witness and debrief discussion based lessons with your teachers. Sign up for a nerdy no strings attached to brainstorm. Call at Lindsay, Beth lions.com/contact. Until next time, leaders think big act brave and be your best self. This podcast is a proud member of the teach better podcast network.

Better today, better tomorrow and the podcast to get you there, explore more podcasts at teach better.com/podcasts and we'll see you at the next episode.

163. Lead Happy Schools with Kim Strobel
163. Lead Happy Schools with Kim Strobel
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