Episode 224 – Unstoppable Career and Mindfulness Expert with Alicia Ramsdell

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I have had the honor to talk with a number of career coaches, mindfulness advocates and experts as well as others who promote, in one way or another, introspection and self evaluation. Getting the opportunity on this episode to speak with Alicia Ramsdell who had considerable knowledge about all these subjects really puts many concepts into perspective. Alicia thought she wanted to be a veterinarian , but fairly quickly realized that, for her, animals was not a way to earn an income. She was, however, good in math and chose to begin a career in the executive recruiting industry where she worked for fifteen years.

In 2019 she left that field after deciding to take the leap to start her own business helping people to better understand themselves and their career choices. Her last four years of work not only have been personally and financially rewarding, but she found that working for herself in the Covid era worked well.

We talk about a number of topics including meditation, life choices, self analysis and introspection and what success really means. We discuss other things, but I will leave it to you to listen to hear everything. Near the end of our conversation we even learn why Alicia felt it was time to leave the executive career field and how difficult it was for her to really take the step to move on. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Lots of good snippets and lessons in life to hear.

About the Guest:

Alicia Ramsdell, a powerhouse career and mindfulness expert, TEDx speaker, and CEO of Mindful Career Path, LLC. With over 15 years of experience in Corporate America, Alicia has cultivated a life by design in Career Development roles, and is a Certified Career Services Provider, Global Career Development Facilitator, and certified in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Organizational Mindfulness.

Alicia provides invaluable insight into career development strategies, leveraging stress as a tool to elevate your life’s work. She has three main priorities: captivating audiences as a keynote speaker, revolutionizing career development as a corporate partner for employees, and empowering individuals to achieve career fulfillment as a career coach. Her TEDx talk in York Beach, Maine, "Don’t be afraid to fail in the career of your dreams. Be afraid to succeed in the career of your nightmares," is an inspiring reminder to pursue your passions fearlessly.

As a Certified Career Services Provider (CCSP) and Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF), Alicia provides a unique perspective on career development. Her focus on mindfulness, stress reduction, and career fulfillment sets her apart as an expert in the field.

Join Alicia on her mission to design fulfilling and mindful careers for all. Her experience in Corporate America and as a mindfulness expert gives her a unique perspective on career development. Whether you’re an individual looking to achieve career fulfillment or a corporation looking to revolutionize your approach to career development, Alicia has the expertise to help you reach your goals.

Ways to connect with Jann:

TEDx Talk: https://youtu.be/bWCaTE0d2ww?si=EiJ77c2jjZtvwD0Z
Mindful Career Path’s Website: www.mindfulcareerpath.com
Alicia’s LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aliciaramsdell/
Mindful Career Path’s LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/mindful-career-path/
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/@mindfulcareerpath
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Mindful.Career.Path
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mindful_Careers
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mindful.Career.Path/

About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.

Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.


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Transcription Notes:

Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:21
Welcome once again to an episode of unstoppable mindset. We’re really glad you’re here with us today. Thanks for joining us, we get to talk with today a mindfulness mindfulness expert. If I could talk I’d be in good shape, a TEDx speaker, and a person who I’ve really come to enjoy and get to know she also has a company mindfulness career path. We’re gonna get to all of that as we go forward. But I’d like you to meet Alicia Ramsdell. Alicia, how are you?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 01:51
Mike? I’m doing great. Thanks so much for having me. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 01:54
thanks for being here. And Alicia lives in North of Boston. And as we were talking earlier, I lived in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and was there for three years and worked with a company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Kurzweil Computer Products for a number of years in and around that. But I was in Boston in New York during the big blizzard of 78, which a lot of people don’t remember, but it was quite the snowstorm and quite the time.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 02:24
I believe in I’m not going to tell you if I was born then or not, but that’s okay. parents. My parents tell me about it.
Michael Hingson ** 02:30
Well, as I was mentioning, just before we came on, I used to frequent Durgan Park and Quincy Market, and I’ve heard that it closed down and Durgan Park was a restaurant that was very famous for family style, food and service. And they would not let you sit at one of the tables on the side for four people. Unless there were four of you. They made people sit in family style, and that was fine. But we went in one night there were several of us. Actually, I think there were only three of us. But I had my guide dog with me. At that time. It was Holland, my second guide, who was a wonderful, beautiful male golden retriever. And the hostess said, you know, just to make it easy. We’re going to put you at one of the tables for four. And I said, Well, we’re gonna get in trouble for that. And she said, No, you won’t. Well, sure enough, the waitress came over and they’re all trained to be real snots. And she said, You can’t sit here. There are only three of you and you can’t sit here and I said, well, the hostess said that we could sit here. No, she didn’t. Yeah, she did. Because I have a guide dog. Oh, I’m not gonna fall for that. You don’t have a dog. I don’t see a dog. Well, Holland was well under the table. And the tablecloth came down, so she wouldn’t have seen him. And she kept saying, No, you can’t be here. And she walked away. And then she came back. She’s there, you’re gonna have to move. And I said, Look, there is a guide dog under the table. We were told we could sit here. She finally at least lift up the tablecloth. And there are these brown eyes looking out at her from under the table. And she goes, Oh, what a cute dog and she walks away and she comes back with a plate. Now Durgan Park was known for its prime rib and the prime rib was so large that it would hang over the sides of the plate sometimes anyway, she had this and she said a customer didn’t finish it. Can I give it to the dog? For customer relations? I would normally say no. But I said Oh sure. So we made a friend for life. It was so funny because the nastiness went away.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 04:23
Nobody can be in a foul mood when they see a golden retriever. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 04:27
staring back at him. And Hollan was quite happy with prime rib. Well, that’s our that’s our Boston’s that our busing story for the woman anyway, but I’m really glad that we have a chance to be here. So tell us a little about you. Maybe growing up in the earlier Alicia and all that stuff.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 04:45
Certainly. So as you mentioned, I grew up in and still live north of Boston, Massachusetts. And for a long time as a child I wanted to be a veterinarian, and I realized that myself actually I have a golden retriever. I’ve had three golden retrievers throughout my lifetime. So I’ve always really enjoyed having a pet. But as soon as I realized that veterinarians had to, you know, handle the surgery side of things, I knew that I couldn’t stomach it. So I had to switch my thinking about where I would go, you know, Beyonds my childhood dreams of being a veterinarian. And as I moved on, I became really good at math. And my future took me to accounting and tax, and not as exciting as being a veterinarian, but there was a lot of job security around there. And the business program that I went through the school that I went to, had an excellent reputation. I made a lot of lifelong friends from there. And my career was 15 plus years in the accounting and tax industry. And although I really never loved what I was doing, I got to meet a lot of wonderful people along the way. And like I said, Before, I have the job security that comes along naturally with the tax and accounting, yes. But fast forward to the present day, I left the accounting and tax, accounting and tax industry in 2019. And I started my business mindful career path. And really what that stemmed from was, I saw a gap in the industry, or I should say, within corporate America, in general, of lacking career development conversations where people could feel that they could be vulnerable without any sort of backlash to it. A lot of people want to talk about developing in their careers, but sometimes with the internal resources, they were shy or hesitant to speak freely about where they were in their career, where they see things weren’t working, or what was working. So I wanted to create a career development coaching business, where I would come in as the external consultant and have one on one confidential conversations with employees to help with their career development, allow them to be vulnerable in their conversations, and also add into that understanding their stress levels and helping them through mindfulness based stress reduction techniques. So that started in the beginning of 2020. And now towards the end of 2023. I really haven’t looked
Michael Hingson ** 07:34
back since. Is your business at home?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 07:38
Yeah, remotely. Yeah. So which COVID was not a good thing? Yeah, the world. Yeah. But it worked out that the remote style of professionalism allows me now to work out of the comfort of my home. But at the same time, globally, so I have clients that are, you know, in Europe and the United States, and Asia, and sofa, and there’s so much power and benefit to be able to work with people globally and understand the various cultures as well.
Michael Hingson ** 08:12
And that’s why I ask the question, because you certainly were a lot more easily able to lock down then people since in the sense you are already working, where you live, so it was kind of easier probably to address that issue.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 08:28
Absolutely. And beyond COVID. If you think about it, a lot of individuals were experiencing overwhelming stress just because of the change in their regular lifestyle. So the combination of career development coaching, but with that mindfulness based stress reduction approach was extremely beneficial to any individual. And it didn’t matter which industry they were in.
Michael Hingson ** 08:56
Yeah. Which, which makes a lot of sense. And you were certainly able to do that we locked down my wife had rheumatoid arthritis. So we really were very sensitive to it. But I mostly worked virtually and remotely. So I worked from home and continue to work from home. Except for when I’m traveling, obviously, but it makes a lot of sense. And the reality is, we can make working virtually or working from home as easy or as hard as we want. And it really is a choice. And the fact of the matter is it does work pretty well if we want it to to be able to work from home rather than always having to go into an office somewhere.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 09:38
Absolutely. And to add to that point, I certainly see the benefit of building relationships in person and the difference between you know, a virtual setting and an in person setting. But the flexibility like you said, that remote capability really allows us to grow leaps and bounds runs in our businesses as well as professionally when we want to connect with, you know, people halfway across the world.
Michael Hingson ** 10:08
You indicated that you’re certified in mindfulness based stress reduction and organizational mindfulness. How do you get certified in that?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 10:20
Sure. So there, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Jon Kabat Zinn, but he’s kind of the godfather of mindfulness. And he started this program out of the UMass Medical School MBSR program, so Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program, and I started this program. And I think it was 2019. Now I’m forgetting this specific year, but through a recommendation of a friend of mine, who was going through previously, he had went through his own really overwhelming stressful moments in his world. And I was explaining to him, you know, this business, I was considering creating, and my own stressors in my life. And he recommended this program, and he said, it was life changing. So it was a pretty incredible program that I went through, it was a remote opportunity, but we learned, you know, various forms of meditation and mindfulness and so forth. So body scan meditation, we learned, you know, mindful eating, mindful walking, you know, you know, think it was chair yoga, and so forth. So there were a lot of opportunities there. And then this organizational mindfulness program really stemmed from it was sort of an extension of this MBSR program. And it had more of a focus around professionals in their, you know, corporate settings, and how you could apply these techniques within the corporate setting, or as a leader.
Michael Hingson ** 11:50
So what is mindfulness? If you were to define it,
Alicia Ramsdell ** 11:55
certainly, so not really my own definition, or something that I’ve learned through the teachings of Jon Kabat Zinn. But it’s really being present in the current moment, non judgmentally. So you’re aware of what’s happening without judgment. And that’s the a pretty basic definition. But it allows you to be in a moment, in a neutral state, if you can think of it that way. So whether there’s highs or lows, whatever the environment calls for, you can be in that state, non judgmentally. Be in this neutral state, and be able to better reflect on it moving forward, then getting really high about it, or really low about it, and kind of making as you would call it, like a rash decision in the given moment in the heat of the moment. So that’s the way that Jon Kabat Zinn explains it. And that’s something that has resonated with me, thinking back to my own stressors. And I’ll pause there for a moment. That’s okay.
Michael Hingson ** 13:00
It, it seems to me that one of the things that is really important for people to think about is, especially in our world today, mindfulness relating to fear. How does mindfulness help one deal with fear and not as I would call it being blinded or overwhelmed by fear when something unexpected happens, or just with everything going on in the world.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 13:23
So I’ve, throughout my journey, if you’re if you’re thinking about fear, or like failures or setbacks, I developed this consistent mindfulness practice. And it’s been instrumental in how I handle situations of fear, it really taught me the importance of being non judgmental, and fully present in those moments of, of setback of fear. And instead of pushing it away, or trying to avoid the emotions altogether, I’ve learned to sit with the emotions and allow myself to fully experience it. And what this does is it really creates a space for reflection and self awareness. And it enables you to gain some insights into what’s the best way to move forward. And that’s kind of a general theme. But that wasn’t always the way I did things in my previous life, as I like to call it. I didn’t have a meditation practice. So I used to rely on this notion that that failures or fear would eventually subside on its own. But as time went on, I realized that this approach only added more pressure to that situation. And it became so overwhelming in my life, that I started experiencing physical manifestations of this stress, you know, to the point where I felt like walls are closing in around me. So that that those points in my life is when I consciously made the decision to integrate mindfulness and meditation into my daily routine. And this shift really allows you a sense, allows you a way To cultivate a sense of calm and resilience, and when you do face these challenges when you do face these fears, and it can help you, throughout those fears, have a greater sense of clarity and not to become overwhelmed by those emotions,
Michael Hingson ** 15:18
this being mindful help you or would it help us to address the issue of, we’re always trying to control everything. And the reality is we don’t have control over everything in the world, and that we really need to focus on the things that we have control over as opposed to all the other stuff that we don’t, that we let stress us out.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 15:41
Does that make sense? To repeat the question one more time.
Michael Hingson ** 15:45
When you talk about being mindful, and one of the things that comes to mind for me is that people are always trying are always stressed out because things are happening. And most of it is stuff they have no control over. Does mindfulness help. One focus on dealing with just the things that you do have control over and lessening the worry or eliminating the worry about all the things you can’t control?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 16:11
So mindfulness from from that perspective, right, there are things you’re right, that we can control. And there are things that we can control? Well, what mindfulness does is it allows you to be aware of what you can control and what you can’t control. Because sometimes in life, we think we can control everything. And you exactly, we want to control everything. So it becomes overwhelming to think, why is this situation going this way? And why can’t I control it. But what mindfulness lets you do is sit in that moment, and be able to reflect. And then once you get outside of being in the present moment, non judgmentally, you can say, What can I do about this is this out of my control is this in my control, if it’s out of my control, then you can move on in a different direction. Or if it’s in your control, you can build a strategy around, you know how to make this go differently moving forward. But it just really what it does, it’s really doesn’t set up for control or lack of control, right just allows you to be aware of where that control lies and where it doesn’t, and be able to move forward with that realization. This,
Michael Hingson ** 17:24
the fact that you are if you practice mindful techniques regularly, does all of that become easier.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 17:32
For me, it personally has some people fear when they start their mindfulness practice or meditation practice that, oh, I can’t, I can’t shut off my my mind, it’s always running. And that’s a myth. Meditation is not for shutting your mind off or clearing your mind. Again, it’s somebody once said, this example, and it really stuck with me. So I’m going to share it again, knowing that it’s not my own. But it’s imagine you were sitting on the side of a busy road, and cars are going in every direction, and you try to walk out onto that road. And, you know, stick your hands up and tell everybody to stop, there will be chaos and confusion there. There’ll be cars crashing into each other. Why is your personnel in the middle of the road. So that’s as if you were trying to control the practice, meditation is more think about yourself staying on that side of the road, having a lounge chair chair sitting down on that lounge chair, and just watching the traffic go by not trying to stop anything, but realize it’s happening. Hey, this is a busy road. Yeah. And so as you have that mindset, going into starting a meditation practice, or starting a mindfulness practice, that’s where you start to grow, rather than assuming you have to clear your mind, or, or anything like that.
Michael Hingson ** 18:55
Yeah, I started doing transcendental meditation in college and have appreciated not only that, but just the whole concept of meditation ever since. And I’ve maintained for a number of years that we don’t do nearly as much introspection and looking at ourselves and what we do and why we do it, and how we can fix it as we should. I used to say all the time, when I listen to speeches I’ve given I’m my own worst critic, and I realized in the last couple of years, wrong thing to say, I’m not my own worst critic. I read somewhere that, in reality, the only one who can teach me anything is me. Other people can give me all the information, but I have to be the one to teach me to do it. And what I realized is I’m not my own worst critic. I’m my own best teacher, which is also a lot more positive anyway, and we, we don’t say nearly enough positive things. So it seems to be that’s a very powerful thought to have.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 19:52
Certainly, and you’ve hit on two really great points that the self talk that we give each other our brain doesn’t know if it’s Reality, or if it’s just something we’re thinking. So if it can’t decipher between reality and just thoughts in your head, why not give positive self talk not to give fake self talk, but positive self talk to say, like you said, I’m my best my own best teacher, and you flipped it and gave it a different perspective. And that’s what you suck to believe. And then the other thing I wanted to touch on, you talked about Transcendental Meditation. That’s actually where I started as well. And I read a book called strengthen stillness by Bob Roth. And that was the start of my, you know, meditation. In my mindfulness, education really was self taught, talking about being your own best teacher.
Michael Hingson ** 20:43
Have you ever read 10%, happier by Dan Abrams, I have not Daniel’s from on Good Morning America, and so on. And he wrote this book several years ago. And it’s his journey in meditation. And he I don’t think primarily does Transcendental Meditation, but he does meditate. And it’s made a significant difference in his connection on the air, and just in him in general. And so he describes it as being 10%. Happier.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 21:18
Yeah, I love it. I put it on my, my list of books to read.
Michael Hingson ** 21:24
It’s well worth reading. Well, you have you have been dealing with, obviously, like all of us different habits and so on, what’s a habit that you had to change? Or that you decided to change? As you were going down your journey? And why did you change that in order to achieve your goals?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 21:44
So let’s start when I was younger, I used to believe that there were specific paths that you had to follow in order to be successful in life and wherever that part of your life was, was, was was what it was. So this belief stayed with me as I grew up, and even into my adult years. So when I was younger, I thought that maintaining friendships meant always being agreeable, agreeable, like borderline submissive. However, as I got older, I realized the importance of being confident in who I was, and staying true to myself. And it was through this authenticity, that I started to form deeper friendships, deeper relationships with people who truly accepted and loved me for who I was. And similarly that I use that same mindset. When it came to careers later on in life, I believe that there were a certain set of rules, and a specific formula for achieving a successful career. And in the earlier days of my career, I play by those rules, right, Simon Sinek has the book out, I think it’s called the infinite game, he talks about, you know, finite game and infinite game and finite game has, you know, a certain set of rules in the same number of players or certain players within it. But I realized that I was playing by these rules, and I didn’t really advocate for myself or trust my own instincts. But as time went on, I learned that the value, I learned the value of trusting my intuition, and also standing up for myself in my career, and I discovered that success really isn’t found with a predetermined path. I needed to embrace my unique strengths. And then from there, pursue the opportunities that align with those strengths, right, that made sense in the values that I held in the professional passions that I wanted to pursue. And
Michael Hingson ** 23:38
of course, it’s important to keep in mind that success is different for each of us. And success. doesn’t even necessarily need to be material. But we we’re always talking about, we need to be successful. And we really need to define what that means for us, and not how everybody else wants it to find it for us. I
Alicia Ramsdell ** 23:59
couldn’t agree more. And, like you said, not only is success different for different people, there’s also different timelines. I used to think that Okay, once you graduate college, you need to have a job right away, you can’t take any time off. Or same with high school. Once you graduate high school, you can take any time off before you go to college, I had these just all these predetermined paths that I had to stay on, for me to be successful. But honestly, some of the most successful people I know, that Uber uber successful, didn’t graduate college, or they graduated college, and they never went to grad school, or, you know, they didn’t have a family started at the age of 35. Or, you know, whatever, whatever the rules were. There are a lot of successful people and it’s different timelines and different setups as well. If
Michael Hingson ** 24:53
we talk about success in a materialistic sort of way. It seems to me that If you’re really going to look at why are you successful, whoever you are, it really comes down to the choices that you make, and that you made. And can you really go back and look at those choices and see what you learned along the way?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 25:15
Absolutely, I created this four quadrant strategy to career fulfillment. And it’s a reflection exercise. And we can go through it later. But it’s a reflection exercise that really dives into where are your successes? Where are you thriving? Where do you want to learn more? And then on the flip side, kind of where are you successful, don’t care to pursue more? And where do you just have responsibilities and don’t care to pursue more, but it really allows you that time to bring awareness to what’s working, what’s not working, again, be non judgmental about it, but then build a strategy moving forward on what to pursue? Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 25:52
it still all comes back to you choosing to be self analytical, and then introspective in order to really look at what you’re doing and what works and what isn’t working. And I stay away from using the word failure because it has such a negative connotation. But I do believe, as some have said that failure is really just an opportunity to learn. And so I don’t regard failure as a negative thing, but rather, is a way to have something that comes along and says, Okay, what are you going to learn from this? Does that make sense? Absolutely. Yeah. And we really need to look at a lot of things in different ways than we do. Do you think that we’re changing our attitudes collectively on some of these things, and that we’re learning some of the concepts that we’re talking about here?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 26:52
I think there’s, I think since COVID, I think people are really trying to implement the more, you know, taking more time for self reflection, taking more time for our mental health. You know, whether you use, you know, mindfulness as a whole, or specifically meditation. But I think, you know, from a career perspective, organizations are trying to implement this. Not just idea, but you know, actionable items that people can use, to really make sure that we’re going in a direction, that’s not just beneficial to the organization, but also to us as individuals. And I don’t think we’re 100% there yet. But I think there’s more awareness around everything that we’re talking about today. And I’m hopeful, as you know, younger generations who kind of lived through COVID, and maybe high school days, or even their college days. And this is all they’ve known since they came into the professional world. And as they become the leaders, right, there are future leaders within organizations and so forth. I think that we’re only going to get better from here, given the perspective of pursuing professional interests, that really speak to yourself and really benefit an organization’s mission, vision values, and then also being aware of our mental health and our, you know, overall well being.
Michael Hingson ** 28:37
Well, for me, I know, just in talking about what you’re describing here, it seems to me that we really need to learn from history more than in the past, we have and that we need to recognize that history is is history, the end, it can be a valuable tool for us. For me. Somewhere along the line. As I was speaking, I suddenly realized as I went to schools, I’m talking to students who never had any direct personal knowledge of September 11. And that now, it’s history to them. And I need to recognize that if I want to really communicate with them, and my job as someone who was there is to draw them in. And so I love to people say, are you really bothered about telling your story? Well, I love to tell the story if I can get people to be drawn in and really see what happened that day, and internalize it so that they make it part of their history as well, rather than it just being something that happened. And I think that’s true for most anything that we do. So I think you’re right, the more we can talk about it, the more we can make conversations about things like mindfulness, what the significance is, and really tell stories to Help people understand that, the better it will be because as we have people growing up, they’re hearing more about it. And by really drawing them in, they’ll internalize it more, it seems to me.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 30:13
Yeah. And you’re right. It’s it with the example of September 11. It’s a part of the history books. And for those younger individuals who didn’t live through, whether you were there or just live through watching it on TV, while it was happening, the stories that people share, really bring it to life. And you know, just a say aloud, I recently read your book, Thunder dog. And it was a side of September 11, that I had never experienced. And of course, I’ve seen the footage I’ve heard as many stories as I possibly can. But every time you hear somebody else’s account of the day, it brings it all back, like it was happening all over again. So it was an incredible book that you wrote, well,
Michael Hingson ** 31:06
my wife is one of the people who said, Remember, for so many people, September 11th, was only as large as their television screen, or the pictures they saw in the newspaper inch. And she absolutely was right about that. But the other, but the other part about it is that even on that day, so after a while, on September 11, I eventually was able to get up toward Midtown Manhattan, and get on to a train to go back over to New Jersey. And people even on that train said, you’re all dirty and dusty. Were you there? Well, what happened, you know, even then I Mike began to hear and start to recognize these people were only a couple of miles away. But to them, they didn’t see it, it really wasn’t the same as being there. And, you know, the only thing I think that I can do to help history and to help people is to, in a sense, and not in a negative way, but make September 11 alive, so that people understand the choices that got us there the choices that got me there the choices that got me out, and why remembering it is so important. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And it’s, you know, it is one of those things. Well, so, you know, we we talked about you changing beliefs, and so on, if you could go back and talk to a younger Alisha, and give her one piece of advice, what would that be? And and then as she grew up, how would that have impacted her life, which means it would have impacted your life.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 32:52
So I’d love to pick just one thing, but I might I know it’s hard. You can go ahead. So first of all, I would tell my younger self to start practicing meditation earlier. In my life, it’s really amazing how much clarity and peace of mind can come from taking a few moments a day, to focus in on the present moment, non judgmentally, right, I go through anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes a day of meditation. And, and I do it at the very beginning of my day, right after, right after I wake up. So it sets me up for obviously a positive start, but a clearer start, which is nice, too. And then second, I really encourage myself to trust my gut trust my intuition more. I won’t say all the time. But most of the time, our gut feelings can really, really guide us in the right direction, even when logic and reason can suggest otherwise. But learning to listen to my inner voice and trusting it, I believe really could have led to some incredible opportunities and personal growth. Now, I don’t regret things that I did you know, previously, you know, because it got me to where I am today. But if I could go back, that’s when I would share with my younger self. And then one maybe silly thing, but then but I think it could really benefit myself and a lot of other people is I think I would urge myself to practice Brazilian jujitsu. It’s a great physical activity, of course, but I’ve heard the benefits and I haven’t done it yet. Right? The mental health benefits. It’s consistently challenging yourself in that regard is on a map. But what it’s doing, it’s improving your mental focus. It’s improving your problem solving abilities, right, you’re on this mat, and you have this unique opportunity to test out solutions and then receive immediate impact or immediate feedback and say, do this work know, how can I get out of this situation, but you’re not allowed to panic on the mat. And I think that we were talking before about fear. A lot of what comes with fear is, is panic, right? That initial moment of panic. And I think Brazilian jujitsu can really help with the problem solving could really help with critical thinking in its physical form. So it’s good exercise. But I, I’ve heard, and I want to put it into practice. And I feel like as I get older, I’ve become more fearful of starting it. So that’s why I would have told my younger self to start early.
Michael Hingson ** 35:43
Well, time to jump in and try it. And then you’re gonna have to come back and talk with us about it so we can hear how it goes.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 35:51
i Well, I’m hoping it goes, well.
Michael Hingson ** 35:54
What are you going to start?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 35:57
I don’t know. I have to set it up. But that’s, that’s my, that’s, that’s my goal. I’m not.
Michael Hingson ** 36:04
I’m not familiar with Brazilian jujitsu. And I must admit, I don’t exercise probably as much as I should. One of the things that I’ve done, I’ve started doing a lot more walking. And in the winter, it gets cold here in Victorville. So I discovered that I can still walk around the house, we have a Long Island, it’s probably bout a 10 foot long island. And so I’ve started doing laps around the island, and I’ll read a book or sometimes just think while I’m doing it, but I can get well over 10,000 steps just walking around that bar. Now it’s level, it’s not a hill, or around that island. It’s not a it’s not hills. But my Apple Watch says great you got in 10,000 steps today. So I can’t argue totally with that. So it’s a great way to get exercise. And I can do it even in the house. And what I’m really saying is, we can always find ways to accomplish things like that, if we choose to, yeah,
Alicia Ramsdell ** 37:04
walking around an island 10,000 steps or walking 10,000 steps outside and your brain doesn’t know the difference. It just knows that you’re walking.
Michael Hingson ** 37:12
Yeah. And it doesn’t care. And, and so I can do it. And it goes really well. So my my brain and my Apple watch, like the idea. So I get the information. And it’s really kind of cool. So I basically tried to do that every day. And it’s a way that I also can, while I’m doing that think and sometimes meditate, although best meditations are when you can sit and relax in it, it is enough, Faker, a hokey thing to do that. But if you’re really gonna meditate, then you need to allow yourself to drift and not try to make choices or do anything while you’re meditating. But you’ve got to let your brain relax as well. And look at the day.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 38:00
And that’s the beauty of meditation, you don’t have to do anything. You just sit there in that present moment with your thoughts. And you can have a focus point, right? Whether that be your breath, or anything else. But every time your mind shifts to a thought or a worry or concern, acknowledge it, and then bring it back to that focus point. So like I said, with your breath, think of like a flashlight, leaving the spot that you was originally on just bringing that flashlight back to that spot?
Michael Hingson ** 38:32
And looking at why it’s there. And what what, if anything, could you really do about it anyway? Right? And it’s fair to think about what can you do about it, if anything, anyway, again, it gets back to not trying to control every little thing that comes along. Exactly. So with all the things that you’re doing regarding mindset, which I find fascinating and absolutely relevant, how do you handle failure? And when you’re dealing with setbacks, how do you handle those? And what strategies have you adopted to deal with that?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 39:07
Yeah, so I alluded to this earlier, but really, my mindfulness practice has helped me throughout my life and failures or when I started this process. So it was, in my days of corporate America, I really started my mindfulness practice. So specifically for me, like I mentioned before, it’s 20 to 45 minutes every morning when I first wake up. And what this allows me to do is that I know that failures and setbacks are going to happen throughout my days. This gives me a chance to just sit with those feelings, sit with those emotions, in a sense, peacefully. And then I feel like when I do, get out of the meditation practice, I then workout and exercise. I then focus on you know, getting my kids After school, from there, I go outside and I take my dog for a walk. So I’m getting that sunlight. I’m getting that extra exercise with walking outside with a fresh year. And by the time I come back and have a healthy breakfast, whatever failures and setbacks I was worried about from the day before, starting my day, the way I do between a meditation practice and exercise practice, you know, getting a walk in outside getting that sunlight having a healthy breakfast, I feel like almost like Superwoman, I can kind of handle anything, because I’ve empowered myself physically and mentally, for the day. And I almost accept the fact that I shouldn’t even say almost, I do accept the fact that failures and setbacks are going to come along the way. So I think it’s a part of being realistic, and not kind of putting your head in the sand like, Oh, I’m not gonna have any failures or setbacks. This is gonna go swimmingly. I prep myself to say, when something does go wrong, this is what I want you to do, Alicia, right, I want you to sit with the emotions of it not going right. Kind of journaling. What happens specifically, without emotion involved? What specifically happened, it’s like, oh, I’m really upset because this person didn’t call when they were supposed to, or this person didn’t show up to a meeting, or I was late because of a traffic situation, or whatever it was, without emotion. It’s this happened, this happened. This happened, very matter of fact, and then coming back to it and saying, Okay, moving forward, what if that didn’t happen? How would that have set me up for success? And kind of going backwards, working from what did happen? Working our way backwards, and then trying to go back forward? I know that sounds a little convoluted, but I’m trying to figure out what were the specific actions that didn’t allow it to happen? And then say, Okay, well, if that didn’t happen, what would have been more successful? Or what would have been better about the situation? Have you ever had strategy? You ever
Michael Hingson ** 42:13
had any real major setback in your life that just completely threw you off your game? And how did you deal with that?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 42:21
Well, being in corporate America for 15 years, I faced a pivotal moment after the end of that when I had to make a decision to leave and start my own business. Now, no, I didn’t have to start my own business, I could have stayed in corporate America. But it was a challenging decision for me, because I was I had to let go of job security. For me, that’s a significant step, considering my backgrounds in accounting, and tax with an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree and extensive experience that I gained in the industry. But I discovered that in my days in corporate America that like I said, Before, there was a gap in career development landscape within corporate America. There were a lot of internal resources that provided employee support. But I noticed again, like I said, there was a need for confidential one on one conversations, career development conversations. And many individuals were hesitant to openly discuss their career aspirations and their challenges with internal resources. So what I do with mindful career path is I set this framework up, where we combine career development, one on one coaching in a confident confidential setting, think of like, you know, the doctor patient confidentiality, and then while also addressing individual stress levels. So for me, the difficult piece came when, at the end of corporate, my corporate America is I was going through a toxic work situation. And I was trying to handle it internally and stay there internally, because of the fear of leaving job security. I never really imagined myself as someone who would take the risk to be, you know, a business owner, but I had a lot of self dealt in leaving, right, that whole imposter syndrome, can I really do this? Can I really start my own business? But after dealing with some toxic work environment factors, I realized I only have this one life to live. Do I choose to stay in toxicity? For another 15 years, just because I felt there was job security? Or do I take those next 15 years, even five years, even one year and try to make a difference for anybody else not to experience the same thing I was experiencing in that moment. Right offer up this car You’re developing conversation offer up stress, mindfulness, stress, mindfulness based stress reduction techniques to individuals. So that was a really difficult decision for me. And I think what I learned, again, I talked about this before, is trusting my intuition trusting my gut. And I’m glad I did. Because as I said, Before, I started this in 2020. And I haven’t looked back
Michael Hingson ** 45:22
since. Yeah, we often just choose not to listen to that inner voice. And I’m glad that you do it is an important thing. I love to use the example of Trivial Pursuit. How many times does somebody play Trivial Pursuit? And the question comes up whatever it is, and an answer flashes in their mind. But then they go, No, that can’t be it. And so that’s not the answer they give it invariably was the right answer. Yeah, it’s, it’s so true. happens all too often. On the other hand, it’s a great teaching tool to try to teach us to use our inner voice more. And I know that when I do that, and I listen. More often than not, it is the right answer. And people say, How can you know so much? And you know, how do you tell them, You got to listen to your inner voice, you can tell them that they don’t listen. But nevertheless, that’s what it is. Because oftentimes, it’s about something I’ve never heard of before, or I just don’t know anything about. Yeah. That inner voice picks up on so many things that we don’t. Yes, yeah. And
Alicia Ramsdell ** 46:27
it’s something that I think comes with time, it comes with experience that comes with age to say, remember that time they did listen to my gut, or my intuition and see how it went, why not give it a shot. So I think it’s more about building up that confidence level, to trust your gut to trust your intuition. But
Michael Hingson ** 46:46
it is something that you have to practice doing and you have to make a conscious decision to do it. And sometimes when it just doesn’t seem like you should do it, you still have to decide that’s what I’ve got to do. Because it will give you the better answer whatever that is. Absolutely. Well, so what do you do so so by the way, you got two kids, how old are the children?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 47:13
11 and 10. Oh boy, boys, one boy and one girl one
Michael Hingson ** 47:19
of each. Like is future bride is there is there a mister in the in the scene and the picture here? Yes.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 47:25
Yep. My husband Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 47:27
What does he do?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 47:29
He works at in the investment management industry. Does
Michael Hingson ** 47:34
he trust his gut?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 47:38
Yes, he does. Good thing for the most part. If not If not I help them with that. But yes, for the most part, any trust is good. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 47:46
that’s a good thing. Well, you’ve got you know, a cool family. I have a dog and a cat and I haven’t mentioned stitch so this is the first time that stitch the cat has been involved in listening and watching a podcast so I’ve talked about stitch the kitty many times but here she is there a stitch the cat, and we welcome stitch to unstoppable mindset to she’s actually she’s been very quiet. She hasn’t yelled or anything. So she’s been very comfy up here on the chair, which is great.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 48:17
What do you do? Guest
Michael Hingson ** 48:19
Oh, she’s she’s a great guest. Yeah. And then Alamo. The guide dog is over here. He’s here’s here. Most of the time. He says I’ll just lay down and listen, I don’t need to do anything. What do you do when, when outside of work to relax and so on? I know we talked about medication but then since I’m not sure that’s totally outside work. What else do you do for playtime?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 48:40
Yeah, so,
Michael Hingson ** 48:42
this besides thinking about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but that’s,
Alicia Ramsdell ** 48:47
yeah, so one area that there’s really two things that I guess kind of like light me up when I’m outside of work. So one area I’m really passionate about is living. And this might not sound fun to other people, but really living an overall healthy lifestyle. So I really like to learn more about how can I optimize my sleep? How can I engage more mindfulness activities, as we’ve talked about, how can I get regular exercise? How can I, you know, nourish my body with with healthy food choices, but even beyond that, it’s become more of like a family affair, where my husband does a lot of research on this. And we’ve gotten our kids involved in in really understanding the background of this, but things like you know, grounding, right, bare feet on the ground, outside, getting that much needed sunlight, you know, be mindful of the skincare products we put on our skin. And we’re as a family, we’re really trying to embrace this more like a holistic approach to health and wellness. So that’s something that we talk about often. And I think just the excitement of living a healthy lifestyle, the excitement of longevity moving forward, but then another area that really lights me up is working with Youth, right. And that could be in two different dimensions really. But it all relates to building youth confidence. So for me, it’s coaching youth sports is getting involved in programs at the high school level, like the business, DECA chapter, which inspires high school students, you know, into their professional or business pursuits. And I teach also at the college level. And again, I do this because I really enjoy seeing the positive impact on on the lives of these of these, whether young individuals as kids or young adults in college, and it fills me with a deep sense of fulfillment, that I could have a positive influence and watch their confidence levels grow, no matter what capacity that’s in, right, again, sports, you know, professional pursuits at when they’re thinking about it in high school, or even in college classroom. And so those are two different things. But coincidentally, they’re very much related kind of to my professional passions.
Michael Hingson ** 51:06
What do you teach in college?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 51:09
I teach that in Beverly at Endicott College. Okay. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 51:13
that’s, that is pretty cool and exciting. We haven’t talked about the fact that you’ve written a book.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 51:19
Yes, well, a children’s book, I wrote a children’s book, and it’s called The One and Only incredible me.
Michael Hingson ** 51:24
Well, tell us about that, if you would, please.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 51:28
Sure, it stems from, again, the work that I do professionally. And then I get so excited to talk about it to really anybody. But I even talk about my work to my kids, which I never did before when I was in accounting and tax, as you can imagine, but I would talk to my kids about, hey, you can grow up to be, you know, whatever it is that you would like to be, you know, as long as you put in the effort, and you have the knowledge base, and so forth. And I said a lot of people along the way, are going to make suggestions to you, oh, you should be this. So you should do this, you should do that. And I said, and you don’t have to do that, if it doesn’t make sense for you. But again, it’s kind of reflecting on on what do you want, rather than what does everyone else expect of you. So the book, the one and only incredible me is kind of a fun way to explore, hey, well, when I was younger, my preschool teacher said, Oh, he’s going to be an architect one day. And then my high school teacher saw I was good at math. And they said, Oh, he’s going to be an engineer one day, and it kind of keeps going on. And it’s an interactive book to say, you know, all these wonderful people in my life suggests that I was this, this and this. But I wasn’t that in the end, guess what I was, I do this, and I really love what I do. So it’s not to, you know, lessen the impact of well intentioned adults in our lives, but it’s just to promote our own self awareness, and, you know, excitement to engage in whatever pursuits that we want professionally moving forward.
Michael Hingson ** 53:02
Mr. Campbell was my freshman in high school geography teacher. And I don’t know why I am, as I am, but I was brought up to value what my teachers tell me. And, and I remember lots of different things and lots of different kinds of concepts that my teachers brought to my attention. And a lot of times, they were not necessarily in the subjects that the teachers were teaching, for example, Mr. Campbell, once said, he did all sorts of tests, when he was younger to decide what he wanted to do. And everything pointed to the fact that he should be a plumber. But yet, he ended up being a geography teacher, and I would still to this day, say, a good one.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 53:53
Yeah. And imagine this world without him because of the impact that he had on you if he had went down, you know? Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 54:02
And, you know, I remember things about geography, although I don’t remember what exactly to attribute to Him. But I remembered that lesson from him. And I’ve had others like that from from teachers. And when they’re speaking from the heart like that, it it really does tend to stick with you. And I think it is, as you point out really important for us to really recognize that we are our own selves. And it is our choices. And the earlier we can learn about making good choices or making choices and valuing those choices. Even if they don’t turn out right, using that information to grow is very important to do.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 54:43
And the impact that they have can be profound on you know, future generations. The fact that you’re still talking about him today is you know, speaks volumes. And
Michael Hingson ** 54:54
the the choice can be good or bad depending on how you decide to deal with it. Whatever it is, right? Yeah. Which is, which is really so cool. Well, let me ask one last question, what’s the unique challenge or unique way that you overcome challenges? What’s something that you use to overcome challenges and how can others apply it.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 55:18
So when it comes to navigating this, the complexities of today’s modern world, I believe, like I’ve mentioned a number of times that intuition, and self reflection are two of the most powerful tools that can guide us, you know, and specifically, when I when I talk about a lot is career fulfillment, but you can talk about life fulfillment in general, we’re living in this world that’s referred to as the VUCA world. And this is a world characterized or characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. And because this world is rapidly changing it, it’s essential to have a strategy that helps us make sense of our past, write our past experiences, and then use those to chart a course for our future. So this is why I developed and I referenced before, but a framework that I refer to as the four quadrant strategy to career fulfillment, again, you can, you know, change your career life. But what this framework combines is the wisdom of trusting your intuition, and the valuable insights that you’ve gained from your past experiences. So as I mentioned, the four quadrant strategy, they think of a piece of paper, drawing a line down the middle, and then a line across the center, it’s now four quadrants. And in the first top left quadrant, think of things where you have been successful, and where you are thriving and write them down. And the bottom left quadrant, you want to write down areas where you’re not yet successful, but you want to learn more about it. So think of those as your learning opportunities. Now switching over to the right side, in the top right corner, you want to write areas where you are successful, but don’t really care to pursue more of it. And then in the bottom right quadrant, you want to write down areas where you have responsibilities, you’re not necessarily you know, the go to person for them, and you don’t care to pursue moving forward. So again, with this overall framework and engaging with it, you don’t want to overthink your answers, right? We want to trust our gut instincts, we want to trust our intuition. And this allows our initial thoughts to be exactly as they are no judgment, just writing down our responses. And after we’ve completed, we take time to reflect on these answers. And then we evaluate, hey, how do these answers align with where I’m currently at, in my career in my life? And how can they be used towards my future aspirations. And then again, you embrace that intuition. You embrace the self reflection process, and you gain clarity, for what you value as well as a professional, what you value is just a human being, and you can use it for areas of growth moving forward.
Michael Hingson ** 58:23
And that is a pretty cool set of techniques that I think anyone can use. And clearly, it’s a way where you can discover and learn and grow. Right? Exactly.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 58:34
And it doesn’t, you know, sometimes you might hear a framework and might say, Wow, that sounds pretty simple and easy. But at the same time, sometimes it’s so simple and easy things that we need to do that can really propel us and can be have a profound impact on our futures. Yeah. It
Michael Hingson ** 58:55
doesn’t need to be as I would say, magical to be something that’s valuable to do. Well, Alicia, I really want to thank you for being with us on unstoppable mindset. And clearly you demonstrate that kind of a mindset. If people want to reach out to you and maybe talk to you about being a coach or helping them how do they do that?
Alicia Ramsdell ** 59:15
Certainly, they can go to my full career path.com And all my social media links are there, or they can find me on LinkedIn. I think I’m the only Alicia Ramsdell on there. So it’s going to be hard to find me spell
Michael Hingson ** 59:30
that for me though, if you would, Alicia.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 59:33
Sure. A l i c i a. Last name R a m s d e l l
Michael Hingson ** 59:43
So reach out to Alicia. Clearly lots of good information. And I think she’s a very thoughtful individual that can add value to all of us. And one of the things that I love to do and having these conversations is I get to learn. And I figure if I’m not learning as least as much as other people that I’m not doing my job for me and for anyone else well, so I really value the time that you have taken. And I really value the lessons that you’ve taught me and hopefully others today. So I really appreciate that. So thank you for being here. And I want to thank you all for listening out there. We really appreciate you, commenting on Alicia’s conversation with us today. Please give us a five star rating wherever you’re listening to unstoppable mindset. Please give us your comments and your thoughts. We’d love them. If you’d like to reach out to me directly. I would invite you to do that please reach out you can email me at Michaelhi m i c h a e l h i at accessibe  A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. And then Michael Hinkgon is m i c h a e l h i n g s o n.com/podcast. So I hope that you enjoyed today that you learned something from it reach out to Alicia and I have to say once again, Alicia, thank you for your review about thunder dog. Absolutely.
Alicia Ramsdell ** 1:01:11
Thank you, Michael. And while you’re at it, everyone go out on Amazon and pick up the underdog.
Michael Hingson ** 1:01:17
Wow. Well thank you again for being here. We really appreciate it.
**Michael Hingson ** 1:01:24
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com . AccessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for Listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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