047. Finding Your Mojo Through Authenticity with Gary Bertwistle

By on March 19, 2019

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Gary has always had a passion for innovation and creativity. His career has spanned the retail, music and radio industries. Gary’s drive comes from having people and organisations think differently to generate new ways of doing things.

As a thought leader in innovation and creativity, Gary has helped companies of all sizes, in all industries and categories, to look at how they currently do things and address what needs to change in order for them to think differently and maximise the ideas that currently exist within the business, with the view to making the company more successful. He is often called when companies or individuals lose their mojo.

Through easy to understand, fun, interactive speeches and sessions, he presents to a wide variety of clients in the areas of creative thinking, mojo, marketing, strategic facilitation, and innovation to improve performance and help us be at our best.

Gary has written 6 books, a number of which have become best sellers, and won the Speaker of The Year Award for TEC (The Executive Connection) in both 2007, 2008 and again in 2012.

In addition to his speaking commitments he also established Australia’s first ever creative thinking venue The Ideas Vault at The Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, co-founded Australia’s leading cycling foundation the Tour de Cure in 2007, writes a blog called The Espresso, in which he scours the world to find interesting tips, tools and news to give you a new or different perspective on the world in which we live, and hosts a popular new podcast series on iTunes called The Mojo Radio Show.

Key Points from the Episode with Gary Bertwistle:

  • Gary bought a farm in his home of Australia, and in driving back and forth to the city from his farm, he went through all of his music library, and decided to listen to podcasts, which sparked a desire in him to start his own (after a previous career in radio)
  • Getting to hear the real authentic person behind the outward person is what Gary really craves in all of his interviews, and key to finding why someone has their mojo working
  • When Gary and two friends were putting together their charity efforts and had to select what to focus on, childhood cancer became so clear because kids get cancer despite not having lived a life of smoking or other behaviors people normally ascribe to cancer.
  • Gary has also focused on the impact on all of those around the person with the diagnosis, and Gary has worked to support them, as well.
  • While money helps, we can also really help people by being of service to them, sharing a message or being a support
  • While he was deep into raising money for cancer research and treatment, his father was diagnosed with cancer
  • A doctor friend of his told him that cancer is a formidable foe, and we have to be as aggressive with it as it is with us. He took this advice to his father to ask him, yes or no, are you going to fight this? If yes, then we are really going to fight, so let’s do it.
  • Not only did Gary work to raise money to fight cancer, but he has become a fire fighter to help save farms like his own from wildfires in Australia
  • He heard about people going out to fight these fires, and felt a strong sense that you cannot hear about this and not do something yourself.
  • He also had a very clear desire to do it because it was hard. The draw of a real test was a big part of what drives Gary to go after new goals.
  • Gary talked about the life of a volunteer. He and his peers work all day as farmers, getting up early and working hard all day. Then they get the call to fight a blaze, and go fight it until the work is done only to get up early again to work on their farm. They do it for no pay, and no time off afterward. It’s out of the pure desire to help. He saw this first hand fighting a blaze that nearly took his own home if he and his peers didn’t stop it just feet from his kitchen window.
  • Doing truly fulfilling work like this is such a part of his world, and so rewarding in a way that he can’t imagine not having it in his life.
  • It’s important to model the right kind of values and behaviors. When kids see us doing right, they will follow.
  • When you focus on the process of giving back, it changes the trajectory of your life, the scale of what you do next, and your whole approach to your world and what’s important. Our children then get to change their trajectory through the example we set, which makes it even more important.
  • Gary likes disruption and being different. He reminded me of the idea from Mark Twain that, whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s probably time to pause and reflect.



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032. How to Live Free with Sara Quiriconi

By on December 4, 2018

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My guest for this episode is the amazing, inspiring Sara Quiriconi. Founder and creator of the Live Free Manifesto, Unfck Your Body Series, and author of the just-released Living {Cancer} Free, Sara is a 15-year cancer survivor who is living proof that you can move through anything. A warrior, healer, creator, and determined soul, she travels the world filming, interviewing, experiencing, sharing, and creating online content and in-person conferences to inspire others to live a life of choice, freedom and intention.

Graduating with honors and a BFA in Boston, Sara became immersed in the corporate world and succeeded in Art Direction and Graphic Design for the first eight years of her adult life. However, her immense passion to heal your self through fitness, healthy eating, and exploring the world led her to leave the corporate world in 2013 to commit to educating others on the benefits of well-being and traveling. She fell in love with yoga for its self-healing properties and has been practicing since 2008.

After years of struggling with Eating Disorders and alcohol addiction, Sara’s determined to share the message of Living Free. Through empowered choices and actions, to LIVE FREE is to never settle, and to embody a determined mindset, warrior spirit, and passionate heart raising you to become the highest level and most evolved (and ever-evolving) version of you.

Formerly known as one of Miami’s top fitness professionals and sought after private instructor for celebrities, Sara’s shifted her focus from teaching and coaching these days to producing, hosting and art directing high-quality content in the wellness, fitness and travel market.

Sara is now is a co-producer for creative video content specializing in the wellness and travel sector. She is a Certified Yoga Instructor, Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and shares her knowledge as a regular contributor to MindBodyGreen, Manduka, and theYogaOutlet. Further, Sara is a proud ambassador for Manduka Yoga, PUMA, GoMacro, YogaOutlet, and LVE! Swimwear, and affiliations with The North Face and Zico Coconut Water, and is represented by the Vegan-based modeling agency, JSW Model Management.

Key Points from the Interview with Sara Quiriconi, The Live Free Warrior

  • Sara, who just released her first book, Living {Cancer} Free, shared her journey to get to the knowledge in the book, including battles with Cancer literally and cancers figuratively. She aims to help people live free from both.
  • Sara’s story started with the kind of identity crisis many suffer from during their teenage years. She had a sense of who she was inside, who she was turning into, and the person she needed to pretend to be to be liked. That battle and disconnect had a toll on her, and lead to the start of her eating disorder issues, including Anorexia and Bulimia. This was one way she was able to exert control over at least one area of her life.
  • As Sara got older, those battles expanded into problems with alcohol, which is almost the opposite issue from the eating disorders because this was about losing control and being reckless whereas the eating issues were about controlling her life.
  • Sara enrolled in college in Boston, and struggled there, deciding to leave the school and return home after a year. This ended up being a potentially-life-saving decision as it was at home that her mother pushed her to get a strange lump on her neck looked at. It was found to be a cancerous tumor, and Sara was quickly diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. She began a 10-month program or radiation and chemotherapy.
  • While her drinking during treatment stopped for the most part, she still battled with her eating disorders, including going to the gym as much as she could to purge through excessive exercise.
  • Interestingly, during her battle with Cancer and despite her continuing to make destructive decisions around food, Sara enrolled in a local community college to keep learning and growing, which I found to be such a beautiful break from the turmoil in the rest of her life. Knowledge has always been an important part of her life, and she decided it was important to keep that going.
  • Sara pointed out a really interesting fact about Cancer. Only 5-10% is genetically-driven. That means 90-95% of Cancer could potentially be avoided. While this simplifies things a bit (you could still avoid a genetically-driven Cancer if you find a way to keep a gene from expressing itself, for example), it’s a really powerful statistic to keep in mind and to think about what you are doing in your life that may be bringing cancers into your situation. This is about being 100% responsible for our lives, being the CEO of our lives, which is what Living Free is really all about.
  • After beating Cancer, Sara returned to school full-time, pursuing a degree in design, and went into the advertising world doing design. She also returned to drinking and kept making dealing with her eating disorders. She described it as a calm after the storm where she was left suddenly having to face all the emotions she had to push past during treatment. It was sort of a trade off between the control of the eating disorder and the loss of control of drinking, alternating one one day and the other the next.
  • When it all hit her during the pause after treatment in this limbo of “what do you do now,” she realized she needed to do something different with her life. This was another point of the conflict between who she is, and she was meant to be.
  • Sara shared a quote she’s been using in her email signature about being the CEO of your life, which we mentioned before. She stresses the importance of how this puts responsibility for your actions squarely on your shoulders. And how you should not feel guilty about that or scared of it. If you fall down, it’s up to you to get back up and learn from it so you can keep getting up in the future. Those choices are yours to make. Having that freedom to choose is empowering if you own it.
  • Sara lost her job in the Great Recession, which forced her to seek a less expensive workout option to purge with, which is how she was introduced to Yoga, which she initially did not like but noticed was the first time she allowed herself to feel. Part of that was not having the metrics to show her how much she had burned off like she would on a piece of cardio equipment at the gym, and partially because she didn’t take the first instructor she had. This was a good chance to learn that you should follow your sense of fit with anyone you turn to as an expert, and so she tried other instructors until she found someone who really clicked for her. After that, she discovered a real love for Yoga, the control it brings and the way breathing and opening the body worked her in a way she had never been challenged before.
  • After several years as a student, she began teaching Yoga, and eventually left her day job to do it full-time.
  • As Yoga played a bigger role in her life, she started to get a clearer sense of what Living Free was really about, culminating in her 14-point Live Free Manifesto. A few of them are: Never Settle, Quality of Quantity, You Have the Power to Choose Any Life That You Desire.
  • We got into the strong influence the fear of the past and future have over our present moment. The only thing we ever have is right here and right now (obviously this is something that’s right up my alley with Do a Day)
  • The way Sara finally cut out drinking was to discover the Why behind her drinking, face that, and then she was able to just stop drinking in an instant.
  • We talked about the importance of Play – having a space where we allow our light to shine through, especially as adults. We should let the child in us come out occasionally and just play. It can make space for creativity, rejuvenation and levity – all things we need in life.
  • Sara shared a really important initiative she’s doing to provide healthy care baskets for people battling Cancer called the Cancer Care Package. We talked about how people get gifts, which is great, but they’re unhealthy things that would actually feed a tumor’s growth (like candy). You can get the small and large versions of the baskets from Sara’s site.


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007. How to Trust When Your Own Body Betrays You with Anne Sugar

By on July 3, 2018

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Anne SugarThe Do a Day PodcastAnne Sugar is an executive coach and speaker who has advised top leaders at companies including TripAdvisor, Sanofi Genzyme, and Havas. Anne serves as an executive coach for Harvard Business School Executive Education and has guest lectured at MIT. Prior to becoming an executive coach more than a decade ago, Anne served as a senior leader in the advertising industry, where she oversaw a team of 75 employees as SVP of Media at Digitas. She managed media planning for Fortune 500 clients including General Motors, Federal Express, and Delta. She draws on her extensive management experience, as well as her in-depth training in coaching methodology to advise senior executives and high performers transitioning into leadership roles.

In facing Cancer, Anne Sugar learned first hand what happens when your body – the thing you are closest to and need to trust the most – feels like it can’t be trusted. And the growth she went through in the process forms the basis of the inspiration she shares in this episode of the Do a Day Podcast.

Key Points from the Show with Anne Sugar

  • Anne Sugar build a successful career coaching people on leadership
  • Just as her business was thriving, she was diagnosed with Cancer
  • Not only did she learn about the battle with Cancer, and how it feels when your body–the thing you need to trust most–is working against you, but she also learned about what that means as a solopreneur to not be able to work and how to manage clients and their expectations during a personal and private battle
  • We all face struggles and want to push ahead, but sometimes those struggles–especially the silent ones–that can make it harder, so how do we make progress regardless?
  • When we face something like Cancer, how we handle the outside world needs to be in a way that aligns with our values and preferences. Some people are very open about it, while some people want to stay private. Both are right as long as it is what they want.
  • For Anne, when she was going through this, the thing that helped her was to make sure she did something daily to keep her moving, whether that was working out, reading, meditating or something else. But choosing not to sit still and crumble was important. There were days when that was hard, but she kept moving forward.
  • As an employer of someone who has to go out for something like Cancer (or some other driver of a leave of absence), there are things you can do to support them and your business. It focuses around delegation of tasks while the person is out and a return-to-work plan, but it also includes empathy and openness. A key to staying successful for both the individual and the company is that there is good communication about what’s needed, what everyone’s expectations are, what’s non-negotiable and how to solve for all of that


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003. Rising Up Even When Half of Your World Vanishes with Evan Ruggiero

By on June 27, 2018

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Evan Ruggiero

Tap dance star Evan Ruggiero began dancing at the age of five in his hometown studio and by age ten, he was accepted into the famed New Jersey Tap Ensemble.

Upon entering his sophomore year at Montclair State University while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, Evan was suddenly diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer of the right leg. His dream of ever being a tap dancer on Broadway was suddenly threatened.

Enduring nine surgeries in a six-month period in an effort to save the leg, the cancer returned more aggressively than the original diagnosis. He was faced with the ultimate decision of amputation in order to stop the cancer and save his life, as well as undergoing chemotherapy for sixteen months.

Eighteen months after the amputation, and only two days after receiving his “peg-leg”, Evan was tapping again. In 2017 he was awarded a Clive Barnes Award in Theatre for his starring role as Tom Jones in the Off-Broadway hit “Bastard Jones.” Credits include: Bastard Jones (Off-Broadway) The Toxic Avenger (Pittsburgh CLO), The Ellen ShowQuelli Che il Calcio (Rai Due, Milan, Italy), Yes I Can (Paralympic Games Film), Shrek (Pittsburgh CLO), Man of La Mancha (Pittsburgh CLO), Best Night Ever (Transcendence Theatre Company), Pretty To The Bone (NY Theatre Barn), Hans Christian Anderson (NYC reading), The Penalty (The Public), and Evan and The S’Evan Legs (Kennedy Center).

Key Points from the Show with Tap Dancer Evan Ruggiero

  • When you have a dream, the way it would play out in reality is never as it plays out in your mind at night. The same can be true for dreams we have for ourselves around various achievements we seek. This was especially true for Evan, but he kept his mindset focused on the end goal, and adjusted how to would achieve it without allowing for the “why me” to overtake the “what I will become”.
  • Even when you think you have your priorities straight, life may define new priorities for you. How you respond to that reprioritization is a choice. When you know your purpose, that can help you decide not just what your new path may be, but how you can process the shift in your path in the first place.
  • Sometimes, we face walls that get in the way of our goals in such a way that we see no possibility of getting past them. You can bang your head against it, or turn around and walk away completely. Or you may just need to back up, look right or left, and see if there’s a door you could walk over to and pass through. Evan did just that. (Or you can tap dance right around it)


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