Note To Self: consider these great podcasts & speeches

Brett Norris on Leadership, Culture & Coaching (Hilliard Bradley Boy’s Head Basketball Coach) – Spotify


Rita Pierson: Every Kid Needs A Champion   


Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.'”  A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.  Ms. Pierson gave her Ted Talk in May of 2013. Rita passed away unexpectedly the next month – June 2013. In a word, Rita was brilliant.

Tracy Austin: I’m Good Enough


On May 4th, 2017 Tracy took the stage to deliver a wonderful and touching speech. Forty-three days later he would pass away of pancreatic cancer. Tracy was the 2017 Recipient of the first Red Carpet Award at Franklin University, and was one of the best individuals I ever had the pleasure to meet and know. He was in the top 1% of people. Tracy was on board of The NeXT Basketball Foundation before his passing. NeXT is honored to award one person each year the Tracy Austin Heisman Award.


Chris Herren: Memphis Basketball | Clip from 30 for 30 documentary – Unguarded 


Chris Herren was a high school basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, who scored over 2,000 career points while at Durfee High School and was named to the 1994 McDonald’s All-American team.


Starting his collegiate career at Boston College, Chris transferred to Fresno State after several failed drug tests, playing for legendary basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, known for giving second chances to players. He was named to the All-WAC first team in 1996 and 1997 before announcing that he would need miss part of the 97-98 season to seek treatment for an ongoing struggle with substance use disorder.


Watch this: UNGUARDED – Fresno State vs. U Mass (Nov. 22, 1997)


Chris realized his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999, and then was traded to his hometown team, the Boston Celtics, in 2000. After suffering a season-ending injury as a Celtic, Herren went on to play in five countries including Italy, Poland, Turkey, China, and Iran.


If you only watch one thing on this podcast page, listen & watch this.

Chris Herren: The Game Has Changed | TEDxUMassAmherst


Former Celtics player and ESPN “30 for 30” speaker. He has suffered substance abuse throughout his career, but has refocused his life to put sobriety and family above all else. He founded “The Herren Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing assistance to families affected by addiction. In 2012 The Herren Project launched a national anti-substance abuse campaign, Project Purple, to encourage people of all ages to stand up to substance abuse.

Joseph Gordon – Levitt: How Craving Attention Makes You Less Creative | TED2019


Joseph Gordon-Levitt has gotten more than his fair share of attention from his acting career. But as social media exploded over the past decade, he got addicted like the rest of us — trying to gain followers and likes only to be left feeling inadequate and less creative. In a refreshingly honest talk, he explores how the attention-driven model of big tech companies impacts our creativity — and shares a more powerful feeling than getting attention: paying attention.


This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.



James Clear: Atomic Habits – How to get 1% better everyday.


James Clear is an author and speaker focused on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Time, and on CBS This Morning. His book Atomic Habits is one of the best books I’ve read – period. His website receives millions of visitors each month and hundreds of thousands subscribe to his popular email newsletter at



Atomic Habits overview 

Atomic Habits Overview – Part 2

Atomic Habits: How To Stay Motivated & Break Bad Habits

Lou Holtz: 2015 Commencement Address at Franciscan University of Steubenville


2015 Commencement Address at Franciscan University of Steubenville delivered by Lou Holtz, former NCAA football coach and former ESPN analyst.  Holtz received an honorary doctorate in Communications. The class of 2015 was the fourth-largest in University history.  In speaking to the graduates he stated with great humor and charm that he’s been 21 but you’ve never been 78. Please listen. This will be the best 17 minutes and 54 seconds of your day.


Please watch

Put God First: Denzel Washington – Dilliard University Commencement Address

Fail Forward: Denzel Washington

The One Thing Only 1% of People Will Do: Will Smith

Before You Give Up: Steve Harvey

J.K. Rowling: Harvard University Commencement – June 5, 2008


J.K. Rowling’s words during her Harvard University Commencement address are some of the most eloquent and powerful words I’ve ever heard.  These are just a few of her “truthful” statements: “There’s an expiry date for blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction. The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you”  –  “Poverty itself is romanticized only by fools” – “You might never fail on the scale I did. But some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you’ve failed by default.”  The title of her speech is “The Benefits of Failure.”  When you get a chance, put on your headphones, go for a walk and listen.  Powerful.

Angela Lee Duckworth: GRIT – The Power of Passion & Perseverance 


Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.


At the University of Pennsylvania, Angela Lee Duckworth studies intangible concepts such as self-control and grit to determine how they might predict both academic and professional success.

Why you should listen?


In her late 20s, Angela Lee Duckworth left a demanding job as a management consultant at McKinsey to teach math in public schools in San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York.


After five years of teaching seventh graders, she went back to grad school to complete her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is now an assistant professor in the psychology department. Her research subjects include students, West Point cadets, and corporate salespeople, all of whom she studies to determine how “grit” is a better indicator of success than factors such as IQ or family income.


Julie Lythcott-Haims: How to Raise Successful Kids without Over Parenting


By loading kids with high expectations and micromanaging their lives at every turn, parents aren’t actually helping. At least, that’s how Julie Lythcott-Haims sees it. With passion and wry humor, the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford makes the case for parents to stop defining their children’s success via grades and test scores. Instead, she says, they should focus on providing the oldest idea of all: unconditional love.


Julie Lythcott-Haims is the author of the New York Times best-selling book How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. The book emerged from her decade as Stanford University’s Dean of Freshmen, where she was known for her fierce advocacy for young adults and received the university’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for creating “the” atmosphere that defines the undergraduate experience. She was also known for her fierce critique of the growing trend of parental involvement in the day-to-day lives of college students. Toward the end of her tenure as dean, she began speaking and writing widely on the harm of helicopter parenting. How to Raise an Adult is being published in over two dozen countries and gave rise to her TED Talk and a sequel which will be out in 2018. In the meantime, Lythcott-Haims’s memoir on race, Real American, will be out in Fall 2017.


Lythcott-Haims is a graduate of Stanford University, Harvard Law School, and California College of the Arts. She lives in Silicon Valley with her partner of over twenty-five years, their two teenagers and her mother. 

Colin Powell: Kids Need Structure


During Mr. Powell’s TedxMidAtlantic talk in 2012 he ask the audience this question:  how can you help kids get a good start?  In this heartfelt and personal talk, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Secretary of State, asks parents, friends and relatives to support children, starting before they even get to primary school, through community and a strong sense of responsibility.  Colin L. Powell was appointed Secretary of State by George W. Bush on January 20, 2001, after being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  He served for four years, leaving the position on January 26, 2005.  He was the first African-American to serve as Secretary of State.

Naval Adm. William H. McRaven: The University of Texas at Austin Commencement – May 17, 2014.

BJ ’77, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Texas Exes Life Member, and Distinguished Alumnus.


Naval Adm. William H. McRaven’s Commencement Address at the University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014 was tremendous. McRaven shares with us the average human being will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime; what if I/you changed 10 people’s lives?  What would that look like? His words found their foundation on the notion that “If you want to change the world” they’re are ten things you must be committed to. He learned these specific items in his naval seals training:


1. Make your bed every morning
2. Find someone to help you paddle
3. Measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers
4. Sometimes no matter how well you prepare/perform you will fail – keep moving forward
5. Life is full of multiple failures, don’t be afraid of failure – it will make you stronger


My advice is this: if you have 19 minutes and 26 seconds do yourself a favor and watch (and listen) to this video, and find out the other 5 things you need to do to change the world.

Julie Lythcott-Haims: Throw Out The Checklisted Child


In this Ted Talk (TedxGunnHighSchool) Julie Lythcott-Haims speaks on the importance of maintaining a healthy mentality both in academia and in life. Brilliant!

Lou Holtz: The Secret to Great Leadership


Notre Dame’s former head football coach Lou Holtz offers insight on effective team building in a discussion with WSJ’s Jerry Seib at CEO Council.

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are


Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success. NOTE: Some of the findings presented in this talk have been referenced in an ongoing debate among social scientists about robustness and reproducibility. Read “Criticisms & updates” below for more details as well as Amy Cuddy’s response.

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action


Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle (Why, How & What) and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.




Nadine Burke Harris: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across A Lifetime


Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.