This ExtraOrdinary Life

Kevin Monroe

Do you want more joy, fulfillment, and abundance in life than you have right now? Do you long for your life to be extraordinary? We do. Join Kevin Monroe and friends each week for conversations exploring how your life can become more extraordinary. It’s easier than you might imagine.

The Hospitable Leader with Terry Smith
Oct 27 2020
The Hospitable Leader with Terry Smith
Today’s guest is Terry Smith, the lead pastor of The Life Christian Church (TLCC), a nondenominational faith community known for its diversity and robust leadership culture. Terry is the co-founder of the New York CIty Leadership Center, a speaker, and an author. He is a firm advocate for incorporating hospitality into leadership. The theme of this week’s episode is hospitality. When we say hospitality, we don’t mean how to set a table; it’s about creating a genuinely welcoming climate in an organization. When you create an environment that is truly welcoming to a diverse group of people, you have amazing potential to combat the difficulties of the world today.  You’ll hear Terry and Kevin Monroe talk about: How hospitality combats polarization. The five welcomes of hospitable leadership. Hospitality and belonging. How hospitality intersects with diversification and inclusivity. What it takes to be hospitable. Kat Haste, the resident artist for the Gratitude Challenge, shares what excites her most about creating art that inspires gratitude.  Kevin and Kat are proud to announce the unveiling of a new facet of the Gratitude Challenge: the Gratitude Challenge Card Deck! This deck consists of 54 prompts in a lovely gift box sized for your convenience to use anywhere at any time you wish.  Resources Terry Smith on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram TerryASmith.com The Hospitable Leader: Create Environments Where People and Dreams Can Flourish Pre-order the Gratitude Challenge Card Deck
The Power of Gratitude with Steve Foran and Lilian Jans Beken
Sep 1 2020
The Power of Gratitude with Steve Foran and Lilian Jans Beken
One of today's guests is Steve Foran, the founder and CEO of Gratitude At Work, and the Forum Chair at MacKay CEO Forums. Steve’s mission is to shift corporate culture by helping companies bring gratitude to work each day. He’s accompanied by Lilian Jans Beken, who is a speaker, writer, researcher, and the founder and CEO of the Thriving Human Science Center. Lilian is often referred to as Dr. Gratitude because of her PhD in positive psychology. They both feature as the first guest speakers on this pilot episode of This Extraordinary Life.  Being extraordinary and living an extraordinary life is a matter of choice and not chance. You already have everything you need to live this extraordinary life. In this exciting new podcast, Kevin Monroe provides listeners with the tools to maximize their life’s full potential by having stimulating, insightful conversations with highly successful professionals in various industries. You’ll hear Kevin chat with Steve and Lilian about: What gratitude means to them. How gratitude helps you cope with difficult situations. How gratitude affects your perspective. The physiological benefits of practicing gratitude. How we can dig deep to find gratitude when it seems impossible. Sandy Anderson and Rachel Drukenmiller of the This Extraordinary Life community share stories of how gratitude has recently impacted their lives. Resources Steve Foran on LinkedIn | Twitter GratitudeAtWork.ca Lilian Jans Beken on LinkedIn | Twitter LilianJansBeken.nl
The Final Episode
Aug 25 2020
The Final Episode
The Higher Purpose Podcast is being rebranded and refocused into the This Extraordinary Life Podcast. As part of the transition, we are replaying some of the episodes that have resonated deeply with Kevin and you, the audience. In this final episode - a replay of Episode 3 - Kevin thanks listeners for tuning in to the Higher Purpose Podcast as he wraps up the series. He shares a story about three allies in his quest to a higher purpose and expresses his gratitude for their impact in his life. One of the themes that we are going to be returning to again and again is the idea of the 7 people who enter your life and make a huge impact on your journey to finding your purpose.   There are certain people who you will meet in your life, who are going to make a huge difference for you in different ways. They will impact how you think and feel, and what you do.   These people may appear once in a lifetime, or regularly. They may be in your life for a long time, or for only a brief window – no matter what kind of relationship you have with them – they are going to matter.   Here’s a quick list of the roles these people play in your life: Awakener – who alerts you to your purpose Doubter – who questions your worth Encourager – who encourages and has confidence in you Hero – who inspires and models greatness Mentor – who you have a close and trusting relationship with Critic – who thwarts your progress Ally – who supports and helps you   Even though some of these people can cause you pain – they are ALL instructive and necessary to help you connect with your purpose. For those that bring you comfort and joy – tell them!  Resources Kevin Monroe on LinkedIn | Twitter  Email: kevin@higherpurposepodcast.com  Call or text Kevin: 678-744-5111 Join the community: KevinDMonroe.com/decade
The Power of Self-Compassion with Laurie Cameron
Aug 18 2020
The Power of Self-Compassion with Laurie Cameron
The Higher Purpose Podcast is being rebranded and refocused into the This Extraordinary Life Podcast. As part of the transition, we are replaying some of the episodes that have resonated deeply with Kevin and you, the audience. This week’s replay is Episode 134 with Laurie Cameron. Laurie Cameron, founder of PurposeBlue and bestselling author of The Power of Self-Compassion, talks with Kevin Monroe about the benefits of mindfulness and the journey to self-compassion, as well as the hurdles one might come across on that journey. The Inner Critic Laurie shares a disheartening experience with someone in which her trust was broken. Her first thought was critical of herself and the red flags she ignored: her “inner critic” had reared its head. The inner critic is part of our biology and is there to protect us to ensure we survive both physically and emotionally, Laurie says. The first step in practicing self-compassion is not ignoring the inner critic, but acknowledging it and moving past the cognitive analysis of the hurtful event.  Shifting Your Perspective Laurie communicates that some of our feelings of being hurt are due to a narrative that we tell ourselves. Mindfulness training helps you to observe your narratives, and analyse how you interpret others’ actions and intentions. Only then would you be able to shift your perspective to objectively understand your situation and avoid miscommunication.  Touch as Self Care Kevin quotes from Laurie’s book, “Touch activates the physiology of care,” and comments that he hadn’t considered an individual’s touch to themselves falling under that category. He now realizes that you can apply the physiology of care to yourself. Laurie adds that the tool of touch is one of many approaches to practicing self-compassion and is a primal development of our biology. I’m Not That Voice We’re born with a negativity bias that has good intentions - to protect us - but is counterproductive as it creates a fixed mindset which is demotivating and stunts growth. The voice may be more dominant in individuals conditioned to be critical. We may associate our identity with that negative inner voice instead of seeing certain behaviors and patterns as transient. Thankfully, Laurie conveys, we can recondition or unlearn the negative voice and relearn a positive voice. Self-Compassion is Not Self-Esteem Self-esteem is tied to ranking, rating, and comparison to others. Comparison has caused much emotional suffering and loneliness in society. On the other hand, self-compassion has nothing to do with metrics; it’s all about how we see and treat ourselves in the moment. Laurie offers some insight and practical tips on how to practice self-compassion. She hopes that people can engage in mindfulness, self-awareness and self-acceptance. Mindfulness is accepting that life is messy and mistakes are normal, she adds. It’s the practice of accepting what is and amplifying the good.  Resources The Power of Self-Compassion  PurposeBlue.com Kevin Monroe on LinkedIn | Twitter  Email: kevin@higherpurposepodcast.com  Call or text Kevin: 678-744-5111 Join the community: KevinDMonroe.com/decade
Are You Listening? with Jane Adshead-Grant
Aug 11 2020
Are You Listening? with Jane Adshead-Grant
The Higher Purpose Podcast is being rebranded and refocused into the This Extraordinary Life Podcast. As part of the transition, we are replaying some of the episodes that have resonated deeply with Kevin and you, the audience. This week we are revisiting Episode 117 with Jane Adshead-Grant. Executive coach and author of Are You Listening or Just Waiting to Speak, Jane Adshead-Grant is the guest on today’s show. She shares deep insights about listening with host Kevin Monroe, including why she discourages note-taking during conversations. Don’t Take Notes  Kevin often creates some questions to ask podcast guests as a springboard to their conversation. While they are speaking, he jots down notes so that he remembers important points or ideas he wants to revisit. Jane discourages this practice. She says that instead of taking notes, he should trust himself. When you listen deeply, you’re allowing the speaker to continue to think and speak at their very best. You will remember the essential elements of what they said, she assures Kevin. To listen deeply, you must first be at ease with yourself as the listener; you must know that both speaker and listener have equal capacity to think, listen and share; and you must appreciate each other for the qualities that you see in one another. The Gift of Time Kevin asks what listeners can do to be more present in the conversation. Jane advises them to give themselves the gift of this time, free from judgment, distraction and interruption. Distraction can be both internal and external, she says. An example of internal distraction is when your mind wanders; she advises that you should mentally check yourself when this happens and bring your focus back to the conversation. The most common external distraction is the phone: just put it on silent. When you actively give your attention - paying attention is more passive and reactive, Jane says - you’re giving respect to the other person. You’re saying that in this moment they are more important than anything else. Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting Jane writes in her book that we should let silence do the heavy lifting. Kevin asks her to unpack that statement. She explains that people need time to process questions or information. Giving them the opportunity to pause while they process their thoughts is a real gift. Humans think in waves and pauses: we have a wave of thinking, and then we naturally pause. If we allow that silence for long enough, the brain itself will soar once more in a new way, Jane says. Don’t Interrupt The brain receives an interruption like an assault, Jane reveals. One of the greatest things we can do is resist the urge to interrupt and allow the person to complete their thoughts, feelings and ideas. Interrupting prevents the person from flourishing into who they are meant to become. If you absolutely must interrupt, you should do it as gracefully as possible, while the person takes a pause. If you inadvertently interrupt someone, apologize.  Listening is a Gift Jane reminds us that listening is a gift that is worth mastering because it shows how much you care. When you listen to someone to generate their best thinking, it frees them to be more, to create more, to feel more courageous. Whereas time is the currency of leadership, listening is the currency of relationship. Resources JaneAdsheadGrant.com Jane on LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram
The Power of Onlyness with Nilofer Merchant
Aug 4 2020
The Power of Onlyness with Nilofer Merchant
The Higher Purpose Podcast is being rebranded and refocused into the This Extraordinary Life Podcast. As part of the transition, we are replaying some of the episodes that have resonated deeply with Kevin and you, the audience. This week we are revisiting Episode 142 with Nilofer Merchant, a conversation Kevin describes as one of the most pivotal in his journey. Nilofer Merchant is a famous author and speaker for TED Conferences. Her most recent book, The Power of Onlyness, talks about worthiness and the connected individuality of all human beings. She joins Kevin Monroe to discuss her book and how the principles in it apply to current events. The New Normal Nilofer talks about the things people are doing to help those in need. People now have the voice to create change, she says. She gives an example of altruism that arose due to the coronavirus, and states that society may come to the point where we realize our fates are linked rather than ranked or separated. She ponders on the possibility of the care with which we treat others and the connectivity we have established becoming the new normal. Onlyness’ role in this is to be the combination of voice and belonging that creates real change and lasting connection between people.  Making a Difference There are people who feel like they should be doing more. Part of their struggle is that they think they need to do something of a grander scale to make a difference. All they need to do is care for the person next to them, Kevin says. Nilofer adds that whatever you pay attention to grows, so if you focus more on having a grand plan rather than actually showing love, it’s counteractive. Center on what you know and what you can do right in the moment, and the rest will take care of itself.  Onlyness Nilofer defines onlyness as the source of all ideas and innovation. Onlyness is contrary to the traditional hierarchy of worthy contribution, and holds an egalitarian view that everyone has something of value to add to the world. We have been conditioned to believe that our level of capability relies solely on measures such as level of education, but that is a lie, Nilofer says. For example, we now realize how dependent we are on grocery store workers, a position that has historically been considered low-skilled. They are part of a system that feeds us, which allows us to exist and do our creative work. Contribute, don’t compare. Part of A System When you enter a room, your light illuminates the entire space. This makes it difficult to discern your own ‘only’ because the light you shine is also the filter you see the world through. Here is where others come in to help you, as they have the perspective to see the difference in the world when you are present and absent. The meaning of individual is the smallest measure of humankind, so even alone, you are never disconnected.  Parking Your Fears Nilofer says she has to park her fears in order to be present for a conversation. Fear always demands to be heard and gets louder the more it is ignored. She believes fear acts as a signal, like every other emotion. It doesn’t have to rule you, but you need to pay attention to it. Hope Is A Bridge “Hope is a thing with others that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all,” Nilofer quotes. She shares a past experience in which she thought hope was something lightweight, but now she defines it as the bridge we have to walk across in order to get to a new future. She believes that unity happens because two people are both going toward the same thing together. Resources Nilofer Merchant on LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook NiloferMerchant.com The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World Kevin Monroe on LinkedIn | Twitter  Email: kevin@higherpurposepodcast.com  Call or text Kevin: 678-744-5111 Join the community: KevinDMonroe.com/decade
The Extraordinary You with Emily Elrod
Jul 21 2020
The Extraordinary You with Emily Elrod
Emily Elrod is the President of Workzbe, an organization dedicated to helping clients create optimal environments for people to bring their authentic selves to work. She joins Kevin Monroe to discuss what makes people extraordinary, as well as how our thoughts influence our behaviors. Everyone’s Extra We are all ordinary people, but what sets us apart is our “extras.” Extra is defined by Emily as a gift or calling unique to each individual. Sometimes we only recognize or identify our extras when other people point them out to us. We often undervalue them because they come so easily to us that we think of them as things everyone can do. That which you are gifted to do, you do not understand; you cannot deconstruct it and teach it to other people because you do it naturally, Kevin quotes. The Little Things People are hung up on the idea that your extras need to be extravagant and large to set you apart, but in reality, the cumulative effect of the little things unique to you is what brings the extra to the ordinary and transcends you to extraordinary. The Power of Thoughts and Feelings Thoughts trigger biochemical secretions which generate emotional responses, or feelings. The nature of these thoughts, whether positive or negative, affect the subsequent emotional response. According to Emily, 97% of our decisions are made off of feelings. We like to think we are logical in our decisions making, Kevin remarks, but almost every buying decision we have ever made has been an emotional decision, which we then use logic to justify. Emily describes her background and how she learned the importance of addressing her feelings through her experiences. Killing the ANTs A step to breaking bad habits and behaviors is addressing our thoughts by killing the ANTs. ANTs are Automatic Negative Thoughts, that correlate to the negativity bias instilled in all of us, Emily says. Think of your automatic negative thought as an ant you need to squash. Start by acknowledging the thought, and questioning why it is there.  Failure is Not the Antithesis of Success Failure is a process of success, Emily argues. If you don’t fail then you won’t succeed. Most of us think that success or failure is about the final outcome, Kevin adds. Rather, failure is part of the journey to success, not its antithesis. Kevin quotes a response he received to the question of what makes life extraordinary. “For me,” he says, “it is to continue to seek and create harmony. When I am in harmony, there are four things that are aligned: what I do; what I think; what I say; and how I feel. In those moments, things flow without a sense of agitation, tension, or stress.” Resources Emily Elrod on LinkedIn Workzbe.com Email: emily@workzbe.com Kevin Monroe on LinkedIn | Twitter  Email: kevin@higherpurposepodcast.com  Call or text Kevin: 678-744-5111 Join the community: KevinDMonroe.com/decade
Choose Love with Lucas Skrobot
Jul 14 2020
Choose Love with Lucas Skrobot
Lucas Skrobot is an author, podcaster, business owner, and the founder and host of The Lucas Skrobot Show. He joins the Higher Purpose Podcast to discuss moments, opportunities, love, and fear. In Safe Hands Lucas shares an experience that reminded him to not take the safety of his family for granted. He thinks about two coordinating realities everyday: we are on the precipice of complete disaster and pain in our daily lives, yet there is comfort in that we are not in control and someone is always watching over us.  Hidden Extraordinary Opportunities Ordinary events have the opportunity to be much more than just mundane moments, Kevin says. He prompts Lucas to share another experience, in which he made a choice to help someone in need even though his best interest was to carry on his way. He stepped into something extraordinary by responding to an ordinary opportunity, Kevin remarks. It was a divine appointment that, though it was planned for him, he could have elected to ignore. This is why fatalism and/or passive faith can be fatal, Lucas says. We are slothful in our hoping and expect that if something is meant to happen, it will magically manifest. He speaks about the impact that experience had on his life.  Love versus Fear or Love & Fear? Lucas describes an experiment that sought to discover whether gain or fear was the bigger motivator, by using rats in a maze with cheese before them and the scent of a cat behind them. The results revealed that the simultaneous presence of both gain and fear motivated the rats more than just gain or just fear. Kevin references the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross on love and fear being the only two primary emotions. We often try to make binary choices, he says, as though we can shut off one or the other. If we are solely motivated by fear, then we will be reactionary in nature, Lucas adds. However fear reminds us that there is always something at stake. Furthermore, love propels us towards a goal. They can both be present at the same time. Identity and Truth Lucas believes the reason young people search so desperately for identity and purpose is to find freedom. Though there is agency on the outside, they don’t feel free on the inside, and so equate freedom with purpose, identity and destiny. Only the truth will set you free, he advises, and the truth is love. You don’t need to have a platform to make a monumental dent in the universe; you just need to love the people right in front of you. Kevin urges listeners to choose to be kind and show love in a world full of choices. Resources Lucas Skrobot on LinkedIn | Instagram LucasSkrobot.com Call or text Lucas: 202-922-0220 Kevin Monroe on LinkedIn | Twitter  Email: kevin@higherpurposepodcast.com  Call or text Kevin: 678-744-5111 Join the community: KevinDMonroe.com/decade