Emile DeWeaver — Life After Murder: On Fear, Freedom, and Identity

At the age of eighteen — just before the birth of his child — Emile began serving a life sentence for murder. In this episode, Emile tells us how he came to face the fear that drove him to kill a man, and which followed him into prison. He shares how he learned to love himself and see through an identity that might have otherwise imprisoned him in yet another manner. After finding inner freedom, Emile eventually wrote his way out from behind bars as well: his sentence was commuted in 2017 after serving twenty-one years, a testament to his journey and transformation. 

"I am under no illusions, right? I cannot make amends to the man I killed. I cannot make amends to his family. I still need to be a north star, right? In my world, in my life. So I can spend my time hating myself, [or] I could spend my time helping to create a world where little kids don't kill other little kids."

About Emile:

Emile is a queer, African-American activist whose life sentence in prison was commuted by California’s Governor Brown after 21 years for his accomplishments while in prison. While in prison, he was a culture writer for Easy Street Magazine; he co-founded Prison Renaissance, and despite the criminalization of organizing in California prisons, he covertly organized in prison to pass legislation that changed the way California treats juveniles in its criminal legal system. Emile is a widely published journalist, essayist, and literary writer. His credits include pieces in San Francisco Chronicle, TruthOut, Colorlines, and the Brennan Center. Emile is available for talks, panels, and workshops on the following topics:

• Power in the Criminal Legal System
• Media in the Criminal Legal System
• Three Principles of Creating Miracles


What We Discuss in Episode 53:

03:51   Emile’s relationship to fear — rooted in a culture of hyper-masculinity and violence — throughout his childhood and early adolescence.

14:53   How Emile came to the decision to write his way out of prison.

19:13   Finding self-forgiveness after murder and redirecting energy to make a positive impact.

25:51  The psychological experience of solitary confinement and how what happens in prison is mirrored in society at large.

31:00  The freedom and power of choice in the face of fear.

41:58   Why welcoming all emotions and aspects of yourself creates the path to an overarching sense of peace and joy.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

When the Story Falls Apart

Beneath the stories we tell are emotions waiting to be felt. In this episode, we talk about how our stories and emotions interact and how feeling our emotions can help us find deeper stories.

"If you allow the emotions to move you, your stories change, period. Every time."


What We Discuss in Episode 52:

01:34   What stories are and how they impact our emotional experience.

09:14   Expanding the connection of stories to belief systems and identity.

11:42   The intellectual and emotional components of stories — how they interact and how they differ.

18:04   How moving our emotions also changes the story.

26:39   The paradox of stories both pointing to emotions and having the potential to slow down the movement of them.

30:24   The different stages of stories and the purposes they serve.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Will Chesney — Reintegrating as a Combat Veteran, Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury and Transcending an Old Identity

Will Chesney found identity and purpose as a Navy SEAL, one of the military’s most elite teams, where he was required to perform calmly and effectively under the most extreme circumstances. However, years of neurological and psychological trauma left Will in a very dark place. Unable to do what he loved most or connect effectively with others, he turned to drinking and isolation. After hitting rock bottom, a friend reached out and invited Will to join him on a journey of self-discovery that allowed him to tap into his resilience and get himself back on his feet. Tune in as we learn what Will did to find healing and meaning in life after war.

Will served in the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group as an operator and a dog handler in the Osama Bin Laden raid. He was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his bravery.

"I woke up and it was me again at one point during the weekend. I know I was a SEAL and everybody always says, “Oh, we can't relate to what you've gone through.” But everybody has trauma. Every life is good but life’s hard sometimes. Everybody deals with trauma no matter what."


What We Discuss in Episode 51:

02:41   The challenges of reintegrating into civilian life as a combat veteran.

05:51   The mindset and techniques that Navy SEALs use to remain calm and effective in any situation.

13:25   Navigating the depression and hardships that come with losing a core identity.

20:26   How humility is essential for executing any successful mission.

24:44   The reflection that put Will firmly on the path to recovery.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Connection: A State Beyond States

We talk a lot about connection in this podcast — connection with ourselves, our emotions, our relationships and with the world around us. It’s essentially what we’re pointing to in every topic we discuss. In today’s episode, we talk about why that is, and how orienting toward connection in all aspects of our lives facilitates sustained expansion, increases our capacity, and puts us in touch with something bigger than ourselves.

“And the truth is that you're being in connection with yourself and others is not dependent on anybody else because being in connection with what is doesn't require anybody else.”


What We Discuss in Episode 50:

2:13   Defining connection as a "meta state" or a state that encompasses all states.

17:31   How being connected affects productivity and effectiveness in a team.

23:39   The physical sensations in your body that let you know you're in connection.

28:45   How to be with tension and still feel deeply connected to yourself.

32:48   Why connection is all internal and completely within your own locus of control.

38:16   How to drop back into connection when things get tough.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Joe Sanok — Living on the Road, Opening to Heartbreak and Parenting as a Single Dad

In Episode 49, Brett interviews Joe Sanok, a business consultant and productivity researcher who, until recently, lived full-time in a camper with his wife and children. When he and his wife decided to uncouple, it changed both Joe’s and his children’s lives in a big way. Learn how Joe used his meditation practice and other self-exploration tools to allow his world to unfold beautifully through surrender to reality as it was rather than clinging to what he thought it should be. 

Joe’s latest book is "Thursday is the New Friday,” a book about the four-day work week. He’s also the host of the Practice of the Practice podcast. 

"As soon as the sun came up at 5:30, I was wide awake. And so to say, I'm awake, what can I do to ground myself to be the dad I want to be? To be the person I want to be? To be the business owner I want to be? My strongest meditation practice started then and it came from a place of need rather than a place of, 'I should be doing this.'" 


What We Discuss in Episode 49:

2:48   The pivotal moment that changed the direction of Joe’s life.

9:40   Finding an internal locus of control and how it allows things to naturally unfold.

12:22   Parenting as a single dad in the midst of a major life transition.

18:46   Teaching nuance, healthy rewards and handling difficult emotions to children.

24:59   Boosting creativity and productivity by adopting a 32 hour-or-less work week.

29:09   Why slowing down is the first step to productivity.

32:06   Showing children how to find their own purpose without pattern matching to their parents.

**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Limiting Beliefs: The Hidden Rails That Guide Our Lives

In this episode, we talk about limiting beliefs and how they run our lives, affecting our capacity to be with ourselves and live the life we want. We discuss how to find them, see through them, and discover what happens when these beliefs are no longer running the show.

“It's about being able to integrate new knowledge. And if you can't integrate new knowledge because you think you have the whole story, you're limited. Period.”


What We Discuss in Episode 48:

2:51    Defining what limiting beliefs are and how they can impact your life.

12:27   How welcoming or resisting a situation shifts both your interpretation and experience of it.

17:15   The notion that integrating multiple perspectives creates better solutions.

22:14   The three general categories of limiting beliefs.

24:06   How to see through the limiting perspective by discovering it in reverse.

34:30   One of the most common limiting beliefs and questions to ask yourself to determine what relationship you have to it.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

What's So Scary About Boundaries?

What’s the difference between a boundary and an ultimatum? What happens when we use “boundaries” to control another person?

In today’s episode, design researcher and strategy consultant Alexa Anderson joins Joe Hudson for a discussion on boundaries. Tune in to learn how drawing better boundaries can deepen relationships in work and life by immediately increasing our capacity to love.

"It’s scary if your boundary is accepted and the person loves you in your boundary, because that means the way that you have modeled the world in the past has to now change. And that means you have to change."


What we discuss in Episode 47:

3:51   How optimal boundaries increase your capacity to love somebody.

8:25   Why walking on eggshells, caretaking and other people-pleasing behaviors are not the same thing as compassion.

9:35   The trap of trying to change the ones you love in hopes that it will make them happier.

13:46   How to hold boundaries in a work context.

20:33   The difference between a boundary and an ultimatum.

30:12   Resentment as an indicator that a boundary is not being drawn.

54:07   Why boundaries can be scary to set and difficult to hear.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

The Power of Gratitude in a Team (Bonus Episode)

After listening to our two-part series on building functional teams, it's easy to see all of the shortcomings in our teams and realize that we might have a ways to go before we can truly call our teams functional. This realization can result in shame and feelings of not being good enough. Once we realize that our brains are wired to focus more on what’s going wrong than on what’s going right, we can shift to a more balanced assessment using a powerful tool. Gratitude allows us to see how the things we might call “setbacks" or “failures” might actually be leading us to the success that we desire. Tune in to this bonus episode to learn about the power of gratitude in a team.

I would say the real, core reason as to why people resist gratitude besides that it’s strange and awkward in the beginning is the fact that they’re scared that they won’t be prepared for the inevitable doom that is always around the corner if they are happy.”

What we discuss in Episode 46:

1:27   Negative self-talk and how it contributes to the group dysfunction.

3:36   Having gratitude for the lack in your life and why that’s important.

7:40   Discerning between dissociative and embodied forms of gratitude.

8:04   A simple gratitude practice that can be easily used with teams and in families.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Building a Dysfunctional Team - Team Series #2

Last week, we discussed the characteristics that set functional teams apart and how to build your own. In part two of this series, we explore the opposite: what makes a team dysfunctional and how to recognize the signs of one in your own organization. Some of the things that we discuss include why trading short-term discomfort for long-term discomfort is often counterproductive, the top characteristics of leaders who produce dysfunctional teams and the root of the dysfunctional behavior itself. Join us to learn how to identify these behaviors in your team and correct them so that you can cultivate a team culture where creativity, innovation and group cohesion thrive.

“The best way to measure if a team is dysfunctional is at the end of a meeting, do you feel invigorated or do you feel depleted?”


What we discuss in Episode 45:

1:26     What makes a team dysfunctional and why dysfunctional teams exist despite their shortcomings.

9:50    Why innovation requires a functional team culture to thrive.

11:09    Characteristics of dysfunctional leaders and how they impact the team as a whole.

18:18    Signs to watch out for in teams that point to a lack of cohesion and effectiveness.

23:20   Practical steps that anyone can take to bring their team back into alignment.

25:42   The root of dysfunctional team behavior and how it relates to unprocessed emotions.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Building a Functional Team - Team Series #1

Every functional team is context-dependent on some level. Functionality looks different for a team of Navy Seals than it does for a team at a food processing center. However, there are qualities that all functional teams share. How are you meeting your goals and achieving results relative to other teams in your field? How much do people enjoy being a member of your team? How much do you trust that you will be seen, heard and respected when showing up as your authentic self? Tune in and learn more about what a functional team embodies and how to build your own.

“I’ll go into teams and one of the things I’ll do immediately is ask everyone what they want from a team and they almost always agree on everything. Everybody really wants the same thing. If you start owning your wants and you start creating the vision of what you want the team to be, whether you are the head of the team or not, it doesn’t matter. Everybody wants it.”


What we discuss in Episode 44:

1:15     The different types of functional teams and qualities that they all share.

7:05     Ways to determine whether your team is operating functionally.

11:50    Why trust is the foundation of a successful team and how to cultivate it.

18:42    The importance of putting the power of decision-making into the hands of the people who are contributing to the solution.

24:10    Ways to measure the success of a functional team and how it is context dependent.

31:57    Cultivating a team culture where people are encouraged to speak up and why it matters.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.** Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.