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.

YouTube player


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).”

YouTube player


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

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).”

YouTube player


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.

YouTube player


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.

YouTube player


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.

YouTube player


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

How to Find Mentors and Ask for Help

YouTube player


In this new Pivotal Moments Media Charlie Mike Channel episode of Life After the Military, Lee and Howie speak with Navy Petty Officer First Class Mike Brown.

Mike talks eloquently about the value of owning your own transition and starting your professional network early in your military career. Mike shares how he used LinkedIn as an effective tool to broaden and deepen his network. Even though he had to medically retire and did not have as much time as most to prepare, his early networking efforts helped him land softly in his post-military career.

Mike also speaks about the importance of finding and using mentors who have recently navigated the military transition process to take advantage of their lessons learned.

Although struggling with some mental health challenges, Mike candidly shares the value of seeking and asking for help and being there for others when they need someone to talk to.


Show Notes:

1:20 – How did Mike prepare for his transition? What went well? What didn’t? What did he earn?

9:30 – Howie on why it is important to take ownership of your transition

11:50 – The importance of networking and some tips for finding success 

23:30 – They reflect on the challenges of joining a new team and finding success 

28:20 – You are not alone, you do not have to go far to find the right people to help you along the way. Find the right communities to give purpose and replace the military presence in your life

34:00 – Don’t hesitate to help others who are transitioning, even if you are just finding rhythm after your own transition

39:00 – How Mike found his job at Intelligent Waves, what he does there, and what he has learned so far from his time working there

51:30 – Book titles

53:20 – Mike on some struggles with mental fitness and what he does to strengthen his mental fitness

1:06:00 – The importance of being there for someone if you see them struggling

Randy Grimes on Football, Addiction, and Recovery

In the premiere episode of Rise Above, former NFL Player Randy Grimes speaks on how all his hard work and love for football paid off. Randy opens up about his battle with addiction, hitting rock bottom, and the road to recovery with the help of his Wife and Family. Learn how he helps families, athletes, and others battle addiction through his organization Pro Athletes In Recovery.

Learn more about this incredible story through Randy’s book Off Center: A Memoir of Addiction, Recovery, and Redemption in Professional Football and his website RandyGrimesSpeaks.com

YouTube player

Show Notes

00:00 Intro 

02:45 Randy discusses his upbringing and life before he got to the NFL

11:30 Randy speaks on how he started abusing substances once in the NFL 

21:00 Jason asks Randy about his book, Off Center

25:00 Randy discusses hitting rock bottom

30:30 A walkthrough of an intervention

33:30 Jason asks Randy about his wife, Lydia

36:00 How to contact Randy

40:00 Randy speaks on the number of people suffering from addiction

43:00 Jason closes the episode


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

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate Pivotal Moments Media earns compensation for qualifying purchases.

How to Envision Your Ideal Day

YouTube player


What does your perfect day look like? How does it make you feel? How do you turn your vision into a reality? 

We sat down with Life Coach, Beth Shaha, to learn more about “The Ideal Day” Exercise. Practiced by our Her Journey Told Host, Sandy Lutton, we take a deep dive into how we can intentionally become our best selves, turn our dreams into reality, and fill in the gaps with mental fitness. 

Follow along with this episode to learn how to do this exercise and put it into practice! Elevate your experience during the “Ideal Day” Exercise by using the tools in our MindCareKit by Pivotal Moments Media. Mental Fitness delivered right to your door!

Life After The Military: Army Signal Officer and Paralympic Athlete, COL (Ret) Patty Collins

YouTube player


Do you want to be inspired? Do you want to learn how someone overcame a life-changing accident to propel herself to be an Olympic athlete?

In this new Pivotal Moments Media Charlie Mike Channel episode of Life After the Military, Lee and Howie speak with Army Colonel (Retired) Patty Collins.

Patty shares an invaluable perspective on how she planned and conducted her transition from the Army. She highlights the value of finding a new community, taking time to spend with family and recharge, and the challenges of working in a consulting firm and pursuing a career in government service.

After surviving a cycling accident that left her as a below-the-knee amputee, Patty talks candidly about her challenging battle to recover and overcome significant adversity. Not only did she complete an extraordinary 24-year career as an Army Signal Officer, but Patty also competed as a triathlete in the 2016 Paralympics held in Rio de Janeiro.

Patty continues to inspire and lead others serving as the Deputy Director of the U.S. Government Publishing Office and as a coach and mentor of aspiring competitive disabled athletes.


Show Notes:

00:00 Intro

2:03 – Lee asks Patty how she prepared for her transition

6:50 – The importance of finding and/or creating a community, taking time to settle in and readjust, and being open to finding a new purpose

8:56 – Howie brings up how much of a difference financial discipline, becoming debt free, and how that financial freedom can greatly affect a transition for the better

11:57 – Why 6 weeks is the golden grace period for adjusting to your new life outside the military

14:25 – Patty shares more about her past and current work positions, why she chose those positions, and what she learned 

26:25 – Patty discusses a major accident she suffered and why she chose to amputate her leg
38:00 What motivated Patty to eventually compete in the 2016 Paralympics

41:00 – Lee talks about his experience in injury recovery, the benefits of physical therapy, and the emotional release that comes with healing

48:00 – Howie brings up the importance of claiming ownership of your situation, what it can take to do that, and how it can benefit your transition and your life.

57:28 – Lee gives Patty’s book title

59:30 – How does Patty maintain mental fitness at an Olympic level?