Episode 4: Abigail Osborn and Being The Bad Guy

Ian attempts to minimize damage when delivering bad news. Abigail Osborn plays “Ruin Your Night” and the two chat about listening to their own music, when the art and the artist don’t match, dating friends, and reinventing themselves.

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Show Notes

00:00 Intro

00:50 Breakups and bad news

05:00 Ian plays his song “Her Heart”

09:00 Abigail Osborn joins the show and plays her song “Ruin Your Night”

12:30 Ian and Abigail talk about being the breaker-upper

38:00 Close

Life After The Military: Operation Mend with Dr. Jo Sornborger and Dana Katz

In this new episode of Life After the Military, Lee and Howie speak with Dr. Jo Sornborger and Dana Katz about the work they do with the Operation Mend Program at UCLA Health as part of the Warrior Care Network.

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Doctor Sornborger currently serves as the Executive Director of the UCLA Health Operation Mend Program. She is a certified clinical psychologist who has associated herself with UCLA  Health for over fourteen years.

Dana Katz is the Director of Community Engagement and Buddy Programs for the UCLA Operation Mend Program. Dana has worked with this program for over fifteen years. 

The Operation Mend Program is a partnership between UCLA Health and the United States military. In this episode, learn from Dr. Sornborger and Dana Katz how this program provides advanced surgical and medical treatment, comprehensive psychological evaluation and support, and intensive treatment programs for symptoms to post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury for service members, veterans, and family members. 


Show Notes

1:32 Dr. Jo explains her involvement in Operation Mend.

4:28 Dr. Jo Expands on the Resilience of the military family.

8:49 The scope of Operation Mend’s Care

11:45 Dana Katz shares her experience being with Operation Mend for 15 years and the organization’s origins with her family.

18:28 Dana and Dr.Jo discuss the community of buddies and warriors that Operation Mend has built.

22:57 Lee shares an anecdote about meeting some of the Band of Brothers.

36:53 Dana talks about sourcing “Buddies” for Operation Mend and the Importance of Warriors to seek help.

48:00 Howie Delves into the “Deadly Gap”.

58:54 Lee calls to action! “You are not alone”.

1:10:00 How our guests practice mental fitness in their lives.

Episode 3: Whitney Miller and Do I Have ADHD?

Ian rides a train of thought through the topics of grapes, climate change, mental math, the AI gaming presidents, and attention spans. Ian and Whitney meet for the first time ever and talk as if they were meeting at a party.

Learn how Whitney won Miss United States, started a career in fighting, and then her career as a musician in this incredible episode.

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Show Notes

00:00 Intro

03:30 Finding fascination in everything 

09:00 What you can control and a song called Being Like This”

13:30 Whitney Miller joins and talks about winning Miss Texas and Miss United States

19:00 How Whitney transitioned into fighting

22:30 Whitney on beginning her career as a singer

32:15 Whitney sings her song “15 of Fame

35:40 Ian asks Whitney about her music taste

38:00 Close

Episode 2: Maddy Hicks and the Scientific Method

“I’m on the hunt for some goals. I’m flip-flopping between taking everything too seriously and not seriously at all. I ask country music sensation and aspiring adult film star Spencer Crandall whether he is aware that strangers desire the life he lives. We also talk about numbers, which, as a math boi, gets me all hot and bothered. Some good shit in here. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy Uncomfortable with Ian McConnell (that’s me).”

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Show Notes

00:00 Ian on The Scientific Method and his song Fine

04:25 Learning How to Cook 

09:00 Pain and feelings are actually good

13:45 Maddy Hicks joins the show

17:30 Ian asks Maddy if she knows what she wants from making music 

21:20 Maddy talks about being honest and specific in her music

26:10 A conversation on embarrassment and writing

32:00 Maddy plays her most recent single Deadline

35:38 Close

Military Spouses, Serving Others, and The Emotional Rucksack

In this new Pivotal Moments Media Charlie Mike Channel episode of Life After the Military, Lee and Howie speak with Richelle Futch.

Richelle is a Marine Corps Veteran, current special operations military spouse, and advocate for military employment, preventative mental health care and reform. She has worked with members of congress on policy reform and has been invited to the White House on behalf of her work and advocacy efforts.

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An accomplished 4x published author, Richelle printed more than 10,000 copies and sold thousands of digital editions of her workbook Unpacking Your Emotional Ruck. 

In this episode, Richelle shares her experience as she transitioned from her active-duty tour by pursuing her undergraduate degree and working as a court appointed special advocate who provided the voice for children in the foster care system. Richelle emphasizes the importance of focusing on and serving others.

Richelle discusses the work she does with youth by using didactic training techniques to help them understand and overcome their challenges. Richelle also describes the work she does with military and first responder families. She talks about the family system and how each family member can be successful in our stress filled society today.

Richelle masterfully describes the work she does with families to build resilience and their ability to overcome adversity. Richelle talks about the work she did that led to the development of her workbook, Unpack Your Emotional Ruck.

Richelle shares about the challenges she faces as a spouse as she and her husband prepare for his transition out of the military.


Show Notes

2:14 – Richelle takes us through her transition out of the military and her advice for those going through it today

5:41 – Richelle talks about redefining purpose

8:54 – Lee and Richelle dive into serving others

17:25 – Richelle explains what it means to meet people where they are at

33:20 – Howie & Richelle discuss the importance of allowing children and teens to experience hardship in order to better prepare them throughout life

41:58 – Richelle explains what unpacking your emotional ruck means 

50:08 – Richelle discusses her husband’s upcoming transition out of the military and how they are preparing for it

57:08 – Richelle discusses how she practices mental fitness

Pilot: Spencer Crandall/Goals

“I’m on the hunt for some goals. I’m flip-flopping between taking everything too seriously and not seriously at all. I ask country music sensation and aspiring adult film star Spencer Crandall whether he is aware that strangers desire the life he lives. We also talk about numbers, which, as a math boi, gets me all hot and bothered. Some good shit in here. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy Uncomfortable with Ian McConnell (that’s me).”

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Show Notes

00:00 Intro 

00:55 – Ian sings candidly about how he feels about spending time on what he loves and reevaluating his goals.

03:03 – Ian talks about Google and the “human-desire” to be known and sings about the irony of how the internet knows him best.

05:36 – Ian touches on working from home and highlights in a song about finding guilt around things he “should” be doing.

08:58 – Ian shares a mental fitness tactic he uses when he’s feeling down to shift his mindset.

10:35 – Ian jumps into a song about not dwelling on your worries.

13:28 – Spencer Crandall joins Ian on stage as Ian introduces him and reflects on the intro songs about controlling what you can.

17:12 – Spencer talks about how he focuses on “enjoying the ride” and “living in the moment”.

19:51 – Ian asks Spencer about his mindset as he made his debut at the Opry.

23:06  – Spencer and Ian discuss differentiating their identities as artists.

27:27 – Ian segways into a conversation about creating value for fans.

30:56 – Spencer shares how he reacts to hearing his own music and feeling pressure from comparing current work to past work. 

36:45 – Spencer and Ian briefly talk about how it’s hard to watch your streams and stats in real time.

37:17 – Ian asks Spencer if he’s aware that there are other people who desire his life. 

40:00 – Spencer closes the show with his song “Side of the Stage”.

44:50 Close

Passion: When Curiosity Meets Community

In this new episode of Life After the Military, Lee and Howie speak with Sergeant Major (Retired) Topaz Navarro. Topaz shares the importance of being curious, vulnerable, and fearless as he learned to use LinkedIn to find his voice and establish his network to help with his transition planning and execution.

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Learn from Topaz as he describes his passion for helping others through his business, Escape Velocity Academy, where he teaches others to become intrinsically motivated to find the overlap between curiosity and community.

Topaz highlights the work he does with Work Play Obsession All In Foundation to help others deal with challenges they may have with their mental fitness. 

Topaz defines his concept – authentic happiness – to help transitioning veterans find their meaning and purpose in their post-military life. He beautifully describes our need and desire to find and experience micro-flow states in all we do.

Learn how Topaz strengthens his mental fitness by taking his MEDSS (Mindfulness, Exercise, Diet, Sleep, Social Interaction) every day.


Show Notes

1:28 Topaz gives an overview of his transition out of the military.

11:40 Topaz expands on the focus of the Escape Velocity Academy 

13:15 Where curiosity intersects with community, you will find purpose/passion

19:45 The Origin of the Escape Velocity Academy name and its services

22:51 Howie explains what “Mile 62” means in relation to building good habits

26:06 Topaz explains the influence that “ The Second Mountain has had on his work

33:10 Topaz opens dialogue on the role of mentors vs coaches

39:30 Topaz elaborates on Work Play Obsession and his role as a connector to other non-profits

47:35 Lee explains the importance of finding community 

54:12 Topaz expands on “purpose” and finding it through authentic happiness

1:04:09 Topaz talks about taking his M.E.D.S in maintaining his mental fitness

Helping Military Spouses Find Stability

How do you handle unexpected adversity? 

Despite preparing and planning for the transition to civilian life, there was an emotional toll Teresa Shick’s family did not expect. The devastation of leaving their military life and the family they built caused an identity crisis that shook them to their core.

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Military spouse and founder of the Pillar Foundation, Teresa Shick, shares insight from the challenges of her life after the military with Howie and Lee on this Charlie Mike episode. 

The community aspect of military life is very important to their family; which led Teresa to create her own in Texas. After serving as an Ombudsman at the Naval Special Warfare Development Group alongside her husband, Teresa founded The Pillar Foundation to provide a support network to newly transitioned military wives into the civilian world. Her dedication to our country’s military families and spouses is unwavering. 

Replacing the purpose these men and women have post-military is pivotal for the healing and growth in their new lives. Teresa is a voice for all military families and a resource that deserves to be shared with all.


Show Notes

00:30 – Introductions

02:00  – How do you and your military spouse prepare for your transition? How did it go and what did you learn?

07:45 – The importance of community camaraderie, and the particular kind you find within the military

10:00 How did you overcome a loss of identity and purpose after leaving the military?

13:45 – Teresa on founding the Pillar Foundation and the importance of being able to find a great community

17:30 – Teresa on the important roles of the military spouse, the importance of teamwork for a successful transition,  and resources available to help families and spouses transition and settle into life after the military

31:00 – How naval special warfare shapes family communication, and lessons learned from training and preparations

34:15 – How and why Teresa started the Pillar Foundation 

43:00 – Lee gives his book titles

46:15 – Teresa is asked what she does to maintain her mental fitness

The "We" to "Me" Mindset Flip with Jose Velazquez

In this episode of Life After the Military, Lee and Howie speak with Sergeant Major (Retired) Jose Velazquez. Jose provides invaluable insights into his military transition preparation and execution.

Jose wisely advises transitioning service members to apply the skills they learned in the military to own and execute their transition. 

Jose shares the importance and value of eliminating debt to lower the stress of the transition period.

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Jose also describes the invaluable role that his spouse played in their steps to execute their transition. With his wife taking part in all transition briefings and classes, she brought a perspective to the process that really helped Jose plan more effectively. 

Jose also shares the importance for him to seek a post military role that enabled him to find purpose and value in what he wanted to do in broadcasting and teaching. 

Jose and Howie describe the value they received by completing the Leader Transition Institute course “Changing Focus from We to Me” and highly encourage all transitioning service members to take this course.

Jose expands on the importance of finding and using mentors to leverage their lessons learned. When he decided to pursue his entrepreneurial spirit and start his own business, he leaned on several mentors to show him the way. 

Although struggling with some mental health challenges resulting from leading men and women in combat, Jose candidly shares the value of seeking and asking for help and being there for others when they need someone to talk to. 


Jose’s LinkedIn


Show Notes:

2:00  Jose discusses his personal transition out of the military 

10:15 Howie discusses the value of reducing debt to create breathing room during transition 

12:51 Finding purpose and fulfillment after the military

15:18 Jose elaborates on becoming an entrepreneur

20:31 Discussion around “Owning the Process” of transition and asking for help.

36:49 Jose explains the Leadership Transition Institute and going from “WE” to “ME”

45:39 Howie expands on his experiences transitioning and the tools he finds value in today

55:01 Lee Discusses helping yourself before helping others

1:01:45 Jose describes his mental fitness journey 

1:15:20 Jose shares a personal story about reframing his experiences through a redefinition of              strength

Achieving Goals through a Vision with NFL player David Holloway

In this episode, Dr. Jason Cormier speaks with special guest David Holloway, a former football player as they go through his journey and the challenges he had to overcome.

It’s no secret that coming from a family of professional athletes means others will have high expectations of your capabilities on the field. David Holloway was well aware of this when he commenced his football career by playing for The University of Maryland.

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Hosted by world-renowned brain surgeon, Dr. Jason Cormier; David Holloway joins us for a motivational episode of Rise Above. His story starts off with moments of discouragement, but he committed to his vision: achieving greatness and success in his sport. 

Flash forward and Holloway has proven himself in the NFL and as a motivational speaker time, and time again. When met with a challenge, he chose to Rise Above. Follow along as he takes us through his journey and learn his trick to reaching your wildest goals.  Check out his story in the full episode! 


Show Notes:

0:00 Introduction to David Holloway.

4:24 Family legacy and college football journey

25:50 Pulling through adversity with Vision of Greatness 

38:26 Mental Toughness and establishing a successful mindset

47:00 Visiting University of Maryland

50:00 David’s source of motivation

56:51 How to shape your life for success


Book Release

The motivational autobiography of Dr. Jason Cormier, a nationally renowned brain surgeon, EDM artist, and Racecar Driver is out now.

Learn more about Dr. Cormier’s book here

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