What is it that separates empathy and action? For some, it’s easier to remain focused on ourselves than it is to clue in to what’s going on with the folks around us. For others, we’re worried that by empathizing with others, we might somehow weaken our own ideals and perspectives. Edwin Rutsch has made it his mission in life to help teach what empathy is, and more importantly how to embrace it. Because it’s when we realize that we don’t have to abandon who we are to be with someone else, that something truly powerful can happen.
If scars are stories, Harrison Scott Key has more than enough to fill the books that he writes. Growing up in the south, he’s taken his share of licks and has come through each harrowing event with another funny story to tell. He contemplates life while washing kitchenware and feels that our uncertainty is what unities us. When Benjamin sits down to chat with Harrison, the two dive into humor, family, and many, many anecdotes. This is Harrison Scott Key.
For a city that was built on a foundation of distraction, in the aftermath of evil, Las Vegas is awake. The locals waited in line for eight hours to give blood. The city has started funds and efforts to house the families of the fallen who seek to come into the city to see the ones they lost. When Benjamin went free listening in the streets of Vegas, he talked with many people struggling to make sense of how they feel. Today we all pause to reflect on what it means to listen in times of anguish.
We only know how strong we are when being strong is our only choice. Kendra Kinnison has survived Hurricanes. Her most recent brush with tumultuous storms happened when Hurricane Harvey ripped through southern Texas. However, she finds her calling in helping leaders navigate personal hurricanes that can arise when we choose to make ourselves vulnerable to the responsibility of leading. When she sits down with Benjamin, the two dive into the process of how we can take the mantle of leadership regardless of position or occupation.
They say to stick to what you know, and it seems like we do the same thing when it comes to what entertains us. We want the next big idea, while at the same time, we have a soft spot for the stories and formulas we’ve come to know and love. It’s hypocritical, but a reality of life. No one knows more about reality and television than Matt Sprouse. He’s a reality TV producer behind shows like Welcome to Myrtle Manor and Sons of Guns. In this episode he sits down with Benjamin to talk about what it’s like trying to capture life in front of the camera, while still shaping what’s unscripted into a story.
How do we release our need for control? It’s all too often that the hectic whims of the world seem to subject us to circumstances that we’d rather not be in. But usually, the most painful parts of those situations come from worrying about things we have no say over whatsover. In his time working with CEO’s and entrepreneurs, Benjamin has focused on two key concepts: The Career Matrix and the Creative Economy. In this episode, Benjamin unpacks these two ideas, and explores several elements that we can all use to improve our careers and our everyday lives.
It’s possible to feel alone even when we’re surrounded by people, but one of the best ways to reach out and make a connection is by using art. When it seems society is spinning out of control, art can be used as a platform to pull us back together. Today Benjamin sits down with artist and activist Damilola Apotieri to discuss his belief that no matter the circumstance, where there is life, there is hope, and it’s art that can help us find it.
Whenever we reach out, we open ourselves up to feedback. It can be positive or negative, but the concept of feedback alone can be daunting enough to some that it shuts down our willingness to communicate. Thomas Knox is the creator of Date While You Wait, and in the intimate settings he creates with strangers he’s constantly making himself vulnerable to feedback. When Ben sits down to chat with Thomas, they discuss everything from fashion, to family, to using the feedback we get from those around us to create even better things in the world.
In the wake of tragic events its easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of anger and confusion that almost assuredly follows. After the events of Charlottesville, it feels like tension has reached an all time high. In this episode, Ben sits down with Pearce Godwin of the Listen First Project to discuss what it's like to listen to those who only seem to spew hate to cover up their hurt.
Whether we agree with them or not, there are certain people who have done so much, and seen so much, that their perspective gives a palpable credence to their stories and beliefs. Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin is one of those people. He has served his country with valor and dignity, but as a man of faith, he’s also had to weigh his religious beliefs against his choices on the battlefield. When he sits down with Ben, the two discuss religion, violence and reconciliation. The conversations might be polarizing, but as always, it’s worth listening to.
HEARD gets to the root of what it means to be alive and human in this world, today.
Open and honest, the weekly podcast is aimed at amplifying stories of what it means to be human and genuinely heard. It features host Benjamin Mathes, Urban Confessional founder and speaker, who is joined by new guests each episode to explore issues and current events intersecting with the topic of listening and being heard. The series is produced and edited by Thomas Yungerberg.