HeartSafe: Saving Lives With AEDs With Donna Detwiler And Leading Teams And The Bounce-Back Ability With Cornell Thomas

When someone falls to the ground while having a heart attack, dialing 911 or emergency services can be your initial reaction. However, this can take a while and a patient’s survival rate decreases. In this episode, Dr. Diane Hamilton interviews Donna Detwiler, the CEO and Co-Founder of HeartSafe Services, Inc., a nationwide provider of services, devices and technology to improve sudden cardiac arrest survival rates. With easily accessible AEDs or automated external defibrillators, anyone can save lives and help make hearts beat again. Learn more about cardiac arrest, heart attack, and what HeartSafe Services is doing to promote their tech in this conversation with Donna.

A great leader learns from his mistakes to make better and more successful decisions. Dr. Diane Hamilton interviews professional conversationalist, author, and social entrepreneur Cornell Thomas on the show. Cornell has authored several books, including The Book of Cornellism’s, which is a fresh reminder of all the good that’s out there. He talks about leadership and using the bounce-back ability to getting back on our feet to reach our goals.

TTL 705 | Automated External Defibrillator


We have Donna Detwiler and Cornell Thomas. Donna is the leader of 1 Global Alliance and the Founder of HeartSafe. Cornell is a professional conversationalist, author and social entrepreneur. We’re going to talk about some of the health issues that Donna helped prevent with her organizations. With Cornell, we’re going to discuss some of the books he’s come up with that are helpful to entrepreneurs. We’re going to talk entrepreneurship and a lot more.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here

HeartSafe: Saving Lives With AEDs With Donna Detwiler

I am here with Donna Detwiler who is the Founder and Cofounder of several successful for-profit businesses spanning more than 30 years both in the UK and the US. Donna served as CEO and successfully led those companies through varying stages of inception, growth, profitability and sales. It’s nice to have you on the show, Donna.

Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here, Diane.

This has been an interesting thing I wanted to talk about because I know you lead 1 Global Alliance, a USA based holding company. You also cofounded HeartSafe Neighborhood Foundation. You’ve got a few of these.

It seems that way. The focus of 1 Global Alliance was a broader scope and to assist in increasing survival rates from preventable sickness and disease. That was how it came about that we then launched different initiatives with core focuses under the umbrella of 1 Global Alliance.

That’s an interesting focus in our time because I worked in pharmaceutical sales for a long time and I’ve worked in a lot of situations where I also taught foresight. A lot of those things combined as we’re in the COVID crisis. I’m curious what led to your interest? I thought I’d read a story about your mother. Is it a back history story that made you interested in going in this direction? Give me a little background on you.

For most of us, a direction that we take is influenced by our experiences in life and for me, it’s no different. The story probably goes back even further because my grandfather developed Alzheimer’s. I was in my early twenties and I went to visit him. I saw him and I sat on a couch talking with them. At this time, he didn’t know anyone. It was at that stage of the disease that he had no recollection of who any of us were, which is an awful thing to have to experience and feel for that person. In sitting there, I was telling him stories. Suddenly he looked at me and turned around. He said, “I am granddad, aren’t I?” It struck me because he had not remembered or acknowledged any of us for such a long time.

That day I left in my early twenties, I was walking up the hill to my car and I remember thinking, “I am going to do something to make a difference and help people to not have to suffer from these types of diseases.” It was just a thought and I don’t know that I acted on that thought immediately. In looking back that was the moment for me that I was influenced to make a difference. It wasn’t necessarily instantaneously that I was, “What are we going to do to solve this?” What is key for me is when I look at entrepreneurs, I look at problem solvers. That’s been my journey in life as an entrepreneur. I see myself as somebody that loves to solve problems.

Fast forward to where we are in the present time. A few years ago, my mom who’s in the UK had a heart attack. What we’re doing with sudden cardiac arrest, there is a difference. I live in the US. I’m in California and I received this call. It’s one of those calls none of us want to experience and receive. As we went through the process and I was over here and she was in the hospital, I learned of the process and started to learn what happened, her journey to getting to the hospital. That’s stuck with me. What was key here is that my mom survived. We’re blessed because she received intervention for a heart attack and she received three stents. We were blessed that my mom is still with us so we’ve been given more time.

That’s such a traumatic thing when you go through these heart disease issues. Everybody in my family has had some cardiac events. It’s something I focus on personally because you look at your past and what your potential is for this type of thing. This is a big health crisis. It’s a hard thing because as we improve cardiac disease and cancers also, you’re going to succumb to something eventually. It’s not just what we succumb to, but how we manage the end of days is what’s important. You talk about that you like to discuss this healthcare or this health crisis and how many people are struck by this cardiac arrest and other issues outside of the hospital. Do you think that we’re doing enough to prevent cardiac disease?

Let me answer it this way for the readers because this was something that I certainly wasn’t born with an understanding or knowledge of as we never are. That is the difference between heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest. What I’ve discovered is the amount of confusion out there is what is in effect causing us to not act and solve the problem and improving survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting. There are massive heart attacks that lead to sudden death. When somebody is having a heart attack, they have time for intervention. They’re alert and they’re able to communicate. As long as intervention happens, there is a very strong survival rate.

The contrast of that with sudden cardiac arrest, it’s instant death. It is an electrical problem. One is a plumbing problem. Somebody is having a heart attack and there’s a restriction somewhere. The blood flow isn’t getting to a part of the heart and that part of the heart muscle is dying in effect. That’s where the pain comes from and things like that. There is time to intervene and get that blood flowing again. A sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. The heart like a bowl of jelly starts quivering and it instantly can’t pump any blood that pulls in the oxygen. The person themselves does not have the ability to be able to send out an alert. It is that sudden.

TTL 705 | Automated External Defibrillator
Automated External Defibrillator: Four out of five sudden cardiac arrests actually happen at home.


I’ve had a friend that they implant the defibrillator for that. Is that one of the solutions for that? I’m trying to remember. It’s been a long time since I’ve studied all of this, but it happened instantly. If these people hadn’t been around him, he would not still be around. When suddenly your heart stops beating, they can bring you back. It’s just somebody has to be there to do these extraordinary measures.

What you’re talking about with the defibrillator is an implanted device. Those are implanted when there’s a known condition. In sudden cardiac arrest, the numbers are staggering. In the US alone, over 356,000 people a year have a sudden cardiac arrest or struck by sudden cardiac arrest. Of those people, less than 10% survive. With everything that’s happening with the COVID-19, this incredible human tragedy that we’re experiencing, when we see these statistics of the daily death rate, you don’t want to keep confronting that every morning. You say there are 700, 800 people. These are just US numbers. When we see those numbers, it’s alarming, sad, and hard to comprehend. It’s also hard to confront. In sudden cardiac arrest. We are losing that amount of people every single day, every year.

It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? There’s not the focus on. I did see the President mentioned the people we lose in traffic accidents and different things of how we need to look at. Many things can be impactful. There are so few people that survive from this because your heart just stops. Are you suggesting that we need more research? Are there better ways to make people survive? What’s the solution to this?

The solution is out there and the solution is surprisingly simple. When I say surprisingly simple, it is simple. The solution is time to intervention. You’d ask the question about the defibrillators and there’s intervention out there. What it requires is early intervention of CPR and the defibrillator, which is also known as an AED or Automated External Defibrillator. These are devices that people may be familiar with visualizing this, where there are two pads on the chest and an electric shock is given to the heart. Often you see them in hospitals on TV shows and films, whereas the ones that public use doesn’t work that way. You just place the pads. The simple machine analyzes the heart rhythm and if a shot is required. It’s very much automated. It doesn’t require somebody to have knowledge of the device. CPR and AED’s are important because that is the only thing that is going to bring the person back to life. CPR will buy time because with the compressions that are given with CPR, you’re taking over from the heart and pushing the blood and oxygen around the body therefore to the brain. CPR is invaluable to buy time, but an AED is what’s going to restart the heart. What it’s doing is putting the heart back into a normal rhythm.

You’re sinking it back up. A friend of mine has that where it zaps him. If he hadn’t been at work, he would be gone. They brought him back and he says sometimes he’ll exercise and it will zap him if he does something a little different or a different position or something. Maybe he needed it because his heart was doing something. He said it zaps him. It gets your attention. Is that something that isn’t happening that it is zapping him because he’s having his heart stop again, or is it a certain movement that might do that? I thought that was interesting.

I don’t want to comment on that because it’s more on the medical side and I don’t know what device there are best that people wear, but there’s the internal implant as well. That again is one of those unknown conditions. Most people that experienced a sudden cardiac arrest, there’s no known history. It just strikes and it strikes people of all ages. This is not a condition that is for the over 60s or over 70s. Apparently, healthy people, people jogging or running marathons. We have an ambassador with our nonprofit and it’s hard to think as a mom, I’ve got three boys and it’s hard to consider this. The day after her 19th birthday, she died at home having been struck by a sudden cardiac arrest. This strikes nearly 7,000 teens every year. This isn’t a problem just for the elderly. When we first started talking, Diane, one of the things that you touched on was about the time that we have with each other.

[bctt tweet=”What stops curiosity is the fear of functional technology in an environment.” via=”no”]

That’s the key here. It’s that the lives that we’re losing isn’t something that can’t be solved. These people are truly dying prematurely. What does that mean? Sudden cardiac arrest isn’t a painful death. It’s instant for the victim. The victim doesn’t feel any fear and pain but those left behind, it’s a ripple effect. The people left behind, it’s all the lost memories, the lost experiences, the future, the potential. That’s why I feel passionate about assisting in this and saving more lives because I value so much the time that I spend with my family and friends. I’m so grateful to have my mom and my dad still in our lives to this day.

What have you developed to overcome some of these challenges of making this any better?

We took the approach of looking at what had been done. What are the resources out there? Four out of five sudden cardiac arrests happen at home.

Are they usually in the morning because of the circadian rhythm?

They are at all times. Sometimes it does happen during the evening when people are sleeping, but it happens at all times. We spend the majority of our time at home and we spend the majority of the time with our loved ones right at home. What our approach was if 4 out of 5 sudden cardiac arrests happened in the home, then how are we going to solve this when we talked about CPR and AED is the only intervention?

That has to happen fast. 

It has to happen quickly. At about the four-minute mark, irreversible brain damage begins. It isn’t just surviving. It’s how well we survive. The sooner we bring somebody back, the sooner their heart is functioning, beating properly, then the blood and oxygen are flowing. There’s going to be less damage and less neurological damage. Therefore, the person is going to recover and the quality of life is going to be improved. The ideal is for three minutes and under. There is a study that was done in 1997 at the University of Arizona. What they did is they placed AEDs and trained the staff in a casino. Those AEDs were placed that they would be able to retrieve them in three minutes or less. During the course of this study, which involved 105 cases of people having a sudden cardiac arrest in the casino, when the AED or the defibrillator was retrieved and applied within three minutes or less, that was a 74% survival rate. Contrast that to 6% because of a lack of timely intervention. Don’t misunderstand, there are times when there was a paramedic stop right there with an AED. There are causes where that person won’t survive. What we’re talking about here is a staggering number of people that are succumbing to sudden cardiac arrest that could be saved simply with the use of CPR and AED.

What exactly causes this? Can we stop it from happening to begin with? We’re talking about bringing people back, but how much is going into figuring out how to stop it, to begin with?

That would be a whole other conversation. I will probably be more inclined to bring my medical board to that conversation.

My concern is if we hit it after the effect somebody is going to get to me about five minutes in and they’re going to get me back and then I’m not going to be back. How do you keep that from happening?

With the younger group that we talked about, for example, the under eighteens, often it’s a genetic condition with the heart and those are not routinely screened for. There is a work and there are nonprofits that are in that space that are working to make these tests readily available and affordable so that we can screen for the youth for these genetic conditions that then cause them to be susceptible to a sudden cardiac arrest. There are certainly areas that we can improve upon. It is that they do not know, meaning the medical and scientific community doesn’t have an answer for all causes of sudden cardiac arrest. Some of them are predicated on the heart of unknown arterial conditions, blockages, and heart attack that leads to sudden cardiac death. There isn’t a one-solution or one-situation-fits-all for this.

Your program, how is it impacting the outcomes either societal or economic for people who are able to be part of it?

When we looked at this solution as it’s happening at home. Four out of five, sudden cardiac arrests happen in the home. How do we solve it at that local level? When people go to airports, they possibly recognize and seeing an AED, but that AED is too far away to have any impact in the neighborhoods. We created a system in the neighborhood itself called the HeartSafe Neighborhood. This system is trained, educated, bystander intervention. We educate the residents on the problem, the solution and also teach them, train them in CPR and AED use so that they’re empowered and educated. An empowered and educated person is more likely to respond than someone that observed something and panics.

What we are trying to do is empower people and educate them so that they will respond and they know how. We’re not suggesting that people shouldn’t intervene and assess someone without formal training, but formal training does help. With the AEDs and with CPR being trained in AED use, we’re educating people, but then we need to have AEDs readily available ideally within 300 feet of any incident. The goal is to place the AEDs as publicly accessible AEDs right there in the neighborhood in an outdoor cabinet and technology has enabled that. That wasn’t available many years ago because the AEDs have to be stored in a rate temperature range.

TTL 705 | Automated External Defibrillator
Automated External Defibrillator: AED can help restart the heart back to a normal rhythm.


If they’re going to be stored outdoors in the elements, they need to be stored in a way that’s going to make sure or ensure that the AED itself is operational when it’s needed. Technology has enabled that because there are outdoor cabinets that have been developed that have technology in them that monitor the AED that also keep them cold or heated in cold weather. That’s what we do. We place AEDs in these outdoor cabinets as part of the system in the neighborhood. You need an alert system because one of the other considerations, I was visualizing this myself, is that 4 or 5 doors away from you could be a doctor. When somebody has a need for medical intervention, medical help or assistance, the first choice is dial 911 if you’re in the US.

The average response time for EMS, as amazing as the job they do, unfortunately for various reasons, it’s about 8 to 14 minutes. When you need to get to somebody at five minutes or less, ideally three minutes or less, EMS alone can’t do all of this. By having an alert system like an amber style alert, if you have a neighbor down the street that is trained in CPR and they know how to respond or maybe 10, 15, 20 people in the neighborhood, ideally they’re going to come to someone’s assistance and the reason is CPR is a lot of hard work. The more people you can have assisting, that would be ideal. Those are the components of having to educate and train people.

I live with it. My husband is a physician and it’s nice to know he’s around. If it happens to be him going through, it helps for the rest of us to know what to do. This has been helpful and a lot of people can learn more from you about what you’re working on and how they can help this initiative move forward. Can you share a website on how they can reach you?

We have pivoted our focus during this time with COVID-19 and we’re all having to do the social distancing. This brings an even larger challenge in this situation because we can’t train people. Trainers can’t go out there and teach people CPR because we have social distance. What we did is we created a program called REACT, which is Remote Emergency AED and CPR Training. This is first of its kind because it enables people to learn first aid CPR and AED training from the sanctuary of their home. The knowledge that they’re learning is the same as if they were doing a full certification class on first aid, CPR and AED use. They’re going to be trained by certified trainers. This is slightly different in that it’s not a certification class. As many people from the home can join it and learn this information. We have many children at home from school, they can be learning this information. These are life skills that they can take forward with them.

That’s great because I had my daughters go through some CPR and different training before I ever had them become babysitters when they were 12, 13. Whenever they start doing that babysitter age, it’s important for this. 

As a family, we all became certified. I remember the a-ha moments that my kids and we were all saying, “I would never have known that.” One of the things we’re experiencing as well is that people don’t want to go to the doctors for minor emergencies or at the same time to the hospital and we’re being advised not to. I was lying there thinking we have all these people out of work, the trainers can’t train. People are losing their jobs. We’ve got all these children home from school and we also have a health crisis, but we’ve got a compounded health crisis because more people are dying at home. The numbers are coming out in the UK. In America, this is a real problem because all of those people with conditions previously or minor accidents happen. We have a compounding problem because we can’t treat those.

[bctt tweet=”For most of us, the direction that we take is influenced by our experiences in life.” via=”no”]

The key to this is how do we empower people at home? How do we help them to become more self-reliant? Our REACT Program was designed for that, while at the same time putting people back to work. We’ve created affiliate programs so that people can become engaged, share with their friends, family, and this is global in scope. We can educate people and when you get that finger cut and you say to your husband, because he’s a doctor, “What do I do? Is that serious enough? Do I need to go to the hospital?” He’s like, “No, let me bandage that up.” That’s what we want other people to have that confidence to be able to treat minor emergencies at home and to have that confidence of knowing if it’s something that needs to be addressed or else first aid training assist in that.

Is there a website or something that people can do this?

If they go to HeartSafeServices.com, they can sign up for a class. They can sign up as an affiliate. We’re encouraging certified trainers to reach out to us. Also, we have moderators because all of this training is created using Zoom, Webex, etc. We also have opportunities for moderators, which creates another income opportunity for people at home and potentially have lost their jobs because of the situation.

This is a time that it’s great that you’re able to do that and make it be available for people. A lot of people will want to reach out to you. It was interesting to talk to you, Donna. Thank you so much for sharing what you’re working on. Your goals are admirable.

Diane, thank you so much. We appreciate and I very much appreciate the opportunity to share what we’re doing. It’s good to know that there are people like you out there as well that is open and willing to bring light to many great topics. I’ve followed many of your shows. It is such a powerful platform and thank you.

I appreciate that. We get many great guests like you. 

Leading Teams And The Bounce-Back Ability With Cornell Thomas

I am here with Cornell Thomas who is a professional conversationalist. He’s an author and social entrepreneur. He’s written several books. His fourth one is called The Book of Cornellisms. I’m interested in learning more about that. I’ve seen some great reviews from old people you might have heard of like Tony Robbins. A lot of people are saying such amazing things about your work. It’s nice to have you on the show, Cornell.

Thank you so much for having me. It is an honor to be here.

I’m honored that you wanted to be on the show. I was interested in your work and the psychological aspects of business and how knowing more about behaviors and all that helps increase performance. I want to get a little bit of background on you and how you got interested in this. I know you played professional basketball or you wanted to play. That was your goal and you received a contract to play in Portugal. I know a little bit about that background, but in case people don’t know about you and what happened to your career and what led you to this, I would love to hear that story.

It started at an extremely early age. My father, Bobby Thomas was a police officer in the City of Passaic, New Jersey. He passed away when I was four years old. When my dad passed away, my mom had to raise five of us by herself without any money. This was in the late ’70s, early ’80s. Whenever I go and I speak, I tell people that the man I am now is directly because of how my mom was, not just as a mother but as a leader of the family. I got to experience struggle firsthand young. I also got to see what determination, grit, persistence and faithful are about. Malcolm Gladwell has a book called David and Goliath. He talks about the advantage and disadvantages. Growing up, I didn’t see the disadvantages. I saw how hard my mom worked and through osmosis, that’s become part of who I was.

TTL 705 | Automated External Defibrillator
Automated External Defibrillator: REACT means remote emergency CPR training.


I discovered basketball late. I was sixteen years old when I first picked up a basketball and I was like baby deer coordination awful. What I did have is I had my mom’s work ethic. I trained 7, 8 hours a day. I sacrificed all the things that I like to accomplish, what I love which was for me, the end-game was to be a professional basketball player. It’s a typical athlete story. I worked hard, got cut for varsity in my junior year in high school. I ended up getting good enough where I received a scholarship out of junior college to play in North Dakota. I came back home working out with all the NBA guys. I got a contract to play in Portugal. A week before I was supposed to go, I ruptured my Achilles tendon. It was 168 hours away from this dream. The reason I wanted to play professional basketball was so my mom didn’t have to struggle anymore. My goal was to get a contract and send her the money. I love basketball. I’ll do it for free and play. When that happened, I found myself in this state where I didn’t know who I was and who I’d be because my whole identity was wrapped up in basketball.

That’s the only thing that people knew me for outside of being my older brother’s younger brother. I went through all the stages of anger, denial, bargaining, depression. Finally, I accepted the fact that I have to change. There’s a change that needs to be made, a pivot. I ended up coaching basketball. You brought something up where you were talking about how you teach soft skills and emotional intelligence and some of these things. When I go and speak to companies and corporations, the fact that I coached basketball for thirteen years, that was the best easy lesson that I could ever have gotten because it’s all emotional intelligence, all of it. There’s a phrase that people use in sports where, “It’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s about the Jimmy’s and Joe’s,” which is plainly, it’s not about the plays that you have. It’s about the people. It’s about your personnel. If you can’t relate to them, I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to be successful.

I had some unsuccessful years of coaching because I didn’t understand the importance of loving my players and knowing my players. You probably go all over and talk to CEOs that have no idea of the importance of the same thing when it comes to their employees. I coached ball for about thirteen years and about a year before my son was born, Bryce, I started to get this shift. It’s like there was more to life than just basketball. This is scary because now I’m putting on the basketball coach. Everything was wrapped around basketball and I didn’t know what it was. One day I opened up my Facebook and I was reading my timeline. This is around 2011 and it was ultra negative. I said to myself, “People set their days with this. This is like their morning coffee, reading one of this divisive nonsense.”

A friend of mine got me a book of positive quotes and I started taking the quotes out. I’m putting them on Facebook to my timeline. One day, a couple of months down the line I couldn’t find my book. I made my own quote and people still liked it. I’m like, “Screw the book up. I’m going to make my own quotes up every day.” I started doing that and people liked them. The quotes became blog, the blog became books and I wrote my first book. I decided to go out and speak. For the first 8, 9 months, I didn’t make a penny speaking. I just went anywhere that anyone would have me and started sharing my story and I started to see the power in that story.

I have had a lot of Hall of Fame speakers on who have told me they made no money for the longest time. A lot of people start out that way because people have to get to know you. How did Tony Robbins get to see your work? I saw Dr. Cornel West. How did these people get to see you?

I believe in a higher power. I believe that there’s a reason that we moved the way we move on this earth. When I first started writing my own quotes, what I would do was send them to Tony and everybody like Oprah, anybody that had a big following. The reason I did that is that they had millions of people that follow them. I had my aunt and my mom. My thought process was, “If they retweet this then I can help millions of people.” It was about 3 or 4 months in and I was doing a basketball clinic, my phone started going like there’s a bee’s nest. It kept buzzing and I’m like, “What in the heck is going on?” I picked up my phone and this quote that I wrote had 500, 600 reach retweets.

[bctt tweet=”As long as intervention happens, there is a very strong survival rate.” via=”no”]

For someone that has four people following them, I’m like, “What the heck?” I was like, “What was the quote?” I scrolled all the way down and I saw that Tony retweeted it. Every three weeks, he retweets a quote. It got to the point when I started speaking. Someone said that he’s the best speaker. I’m ultra-competitive. I’m like, “Who was this dude?” They never heard me speak yet. My friend Evan and her husband ended up paying my way to go to one of his events in 2015 and I went there solely to see him as a speaker because someone said that he was the best. I went there and after I wrote to him. I said, “Tony, I’ve got to be honest with you. I went there not for your event. I went there to see if you’re better than I was.”

How did he take that?

It was funny because I was being honest and I got so much from the event. I got a lot more than I thought I was going to get. I said, “I would love for you to write the foreword for my next book.” He wrote me back right away and said, “Cornell, thank you so much.” Before I was in the event, he direct messaged me and said, “As you know, I retweet a lot of your quotes and looking forward to meeting you.” I thought that was cool. I didn’t know that he handled his own Twitter. I thought it was someone from his team, but my friend informed me that he did it. After the event, he wrote me back. He said, “Contact my executive assistant.” Right around that time they were releasing, I Am Not Your Guru. They were super busy so I waited. My book was done for a year and I waited a year until I was finally able to get that endorsement from Tony.

We were going back and forth meeting his assistant. Finally, I was able to get it. It was 2:30 in the morning. I meet his assistant and Tony was up. I was able to get that endorsement. My book was done. I’m not publishing this book until I get his endorsement and he graciously did that. Cornel West, we have the same name. He has one L and I have two L’s. I was fascinated with his mind for so long. This is when he was at the Union Seminary at Columbia University. I emailed his secretary and I said, “My name is Cornell Thomas. I’m the author. I would love to meet with Dr. West.” She said, “Are you free on Thursday?” I was not free on Thursday but of course, I said I was. I canceled everything and went down there. We have this amazing 20, 25-minute conversation and another gracious human being and ultra-intelligent human. I want to hear about him. He wants to hear about me and my journey. It’s been a cool adventure so far.

That’s funny how you’ll clear your schedule. I had the same thing with Albert Bandura. I came into his house. I’m like, “Albert Bandura is next to Sigmund Freud.” How many times do you hear his name in psychology? That day is open for sure. I’ve seen Tony Robbins speak and he’s great. He came to Arizona for a Genius Network that I attended. He’s a tall guy. I figure you’re probably pretty tall being a basketball player. How tall are you? 

I’m 6’5″ and Tony is 6’7″.

It’s fun to hear everybody’s background and all the things that you’ve learned. You brought up some important points about what you learned from basketball and coaching and you say the mistakes you make. What do you think most people make in terms of when they’re leading teams? What are the biggest things you run into?

You get obsessed with your bottom line. You get obsessed with winning and you don’t realize that you’ll never win if you don’t have a grasp of who your players are and they don’t have a grasp of who you are. There’s not this part of you that’s human. That was the hardest part for me. I’m on a season and we didn’t win a game in college. All of 28, we lost every game that I coached. This is coming from a year where we had the second-most wins in school history. I grow out there I was thinking I was big there on campus. Everybody lapses to junior schools and we lost every game. From there was my best lesson. I learned who I was.

TTL 705 | Automated External Defibrillator
Automated External Defibrillator: The bounce-back ability is the ability to get back up when life knocks you to the ground.


I realized that once we were losing, I started pointing fingers and I wasn’t pointing them at myself. That changed the way I lead. I’ll never forget when I saw my oldest brother Rob and I was complaining about my team. I’m like, “These guys aren’t good enough. They don’t work out.” He let me vent the entire time and at the end of the conversation, he goes, “Little bro, can I tell you something?” I said, “Yeah.” I thought he was like follow onto this. He goes, “You’ve got to love them.” That’s all he said. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t want to hear it at the time. I was angry and I was like, “He’s right. I’ve got to love them. I’m not connected with my guys.” There are many parallels with sport and in life. That was a big lesson for me.

I’ve had a lot of people on the show. We talk about the importance of empathy and I’m working on a book about perception. A big part of perception is being able to see things. You put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. I learned a lot from studying my emotional intelligence for my doctorate and different things in that respect. You talk about some of the things that are key to success. You also brought up a word which I thought was fun, bouncebackability. I don’t know if that’s under Webster’s or not, but that’s one word now. What do you mean by that?

Thank you for acknowledging that word. It’s definitely not on the Webster’s dictionary. Bouncebackability for me and my definition is the ability to get back up when life or whatever haymakers knocks you on the ground. There was a woman, her name is Jillian Loyden. She was on the US soccer team. She was a back-up goalie and she had a ball. She was like, “It’s funny, it doesn’t matter how hard you throw the ball on the ground, it’s always going to come back higher.” When she was talking about that, I was like, “Bouncebackability.” That’s true. It has to be able to bounce back and not just come to where you are but go past to where you were. That’s what people don’t grasp yet. It’s cool that you got up. That’s amazing but be better than you were when you fell down.

You write about getting better. You write about doing what you’ve learned. I was looking at some of the names of your books. You have Extraordinary: The Distance Between Good and GreatThe Power of PositivityThe Power of Me: Army of One and you have The Book of Cornellisms. A lot of that is about being extraordinary, positive, and power kind of thing. Tell me a little bit about The Book of Cornellisms.

The Book of Cornellisms is a quote book. I’ve had 4,000 of my own quotes that I’ve been writing since 2011. I have a book that’s coming out about entrepreneurship. It’s called Game of Death. It’s homage to a Bruce Lee movie that came out. When I first told my friends that title, they’re like, “Cornell, are you okay? Is everything all right?”

It’s not quite as positive as your other names. Yes, I have to say.

You would think it was. The Power of Positivity and Extraordinary came with that. This one is solely based on entrepreneurship and it talks about real entrepreneurship and the mindset needed to play this game. You can get disillusioned by going online and seeing people with fake Lamborghini’s and rented houses that are saying, “You can be a six-figure earner.” I want to make a real book about entrepreneurship. That’s the next thing I’ll work out. My message at the top of the umbrella is the mindset and on the bottom of that are all of these things that I talk about in terms of positivity, dealing with adversity, gratitude, empathy, and all these other things.

Mindset is an interesting thing. I know Carol Dweck wrote the book Mindset and it’s all about having open to ideas or close to them in order to get better and expand what you can do. I looked at a lot of that from my book on curiosity. How we think and the things we tell ourselves can be critical. When I was researching curiosity, I found four things that keep people from being curious, asking questions, and moving forward. It’s fear, assumptions or that voice in our head, technology and environment. You’ve touched on a few of them. You talked about your family and the impact that your mother had, your family, your father, your brother you mentioned, and everybody. That’s our environment and everybody was around. The assumptions part is that voice in our head. You’re touching on that mindset. Am I right?

[bctt tweet=”You get obsessed with winning, but you don’t realize that you will never win if you don’t have a grasp of who your players are.” via=”no”]

Yeah. What you said is amazing. Fear, assumption, technology and environment, that’s an amazing way to look at what’s about curiosity.

That’s FATE to remember the acronym and it makes it easier. There are many people who are going through this COVID crisis. We’re trying to solve many problems and now we’re asking questions. We’re looking for exploring but I’d like to see more of that. For an entrepreneur to develop that mindset, how important is it to recognize what we’re telling ourselves that voice in our heads? What are you addressing in your book as far as that mindset for entrepreneurship?

I should have met you before I wrote the book. I would have dedicated a whole chapter to you about this FATE. It’s phenomenal. What you said about the assumptions, somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day that we have. I always talk about the mind like a garden. Whatever you plant that’s going to grow. Whatever seeds you plant. The majority of those thoughts are negative thoughts or thoughts that are like, “I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. This person said this about me. I can never do it.” That garden is going to be filled with weeds. If you plant empowering thoughts like, “I know I got this, this is not saying that I’m not going to have my moments of doubt, but I know that I can do this. I know that I’m good enough. I know that I’m smarter.” What’s your garden going to look like? In this book, I talked about the seeds that you plant and being okay with being human. As human beings, we’re going to doubt. If you’re going after something big, if you have a big goal, dream, and aspiration, you are going to doubt. That is 100% okay. You just can’t let doubt stop you. You can’t let doubt stop your action.

You might want to look at George Land‘s talk if you haven’t had a chance to look at it because when we come up with these great ideas, sometimes we automatically overcriticize them at the same time. It’s almost like putting on the gas and the brake at the same time and you don’t go anywhere. It’s a great way of looking at what happened to our creativity too. Ken Robinson has a great TED Talk about what happens to us and a lot of it. We hit it around age five where everything smacks us into the face when we get into school. All of the things that we try to explore and all the things that we’ve become start to mold around that time. There’s so much more that we can do to help people get that initial questioning and exploration back. That’s important for entrepreneurs. I’m interested in hearing your perspective on mindset. I’ll be fascinated and watching what you do with that. What you’re doing is important. Are you still blogging? I know your blog led to your first book The Power of Positivity: Controlling Where the Ball Bounces. Is that your first book?

I’m not blogging as much. My blogging is more like video blogs. I do a Facebook Live and Instagram Live every single day. I do it multiple times because people are stuck indoor. I’m trying to lift their spirits. I’m an almost a silly goose. I do goofy stuff too. I’m not like all this being super serious. That’s not who I am. I get on there and I might be dancing with my kids or doing something silly just to make people smile. I do that more. If I’m sitting down to write, if it’s not maybe a small article on LinkedIn or whatever, usually I’m writing a book. My goal is to write ten books by the end of 2022. I have this fifth one that’s coming out. I have a sixth one than I’m starting to map in my mind. Whenever I sit down to write, it’s going to be for the book.

TTL 705 | Automated External Defibrillator
The Book Of Cornellism’s

A book you might find helpful for what you’re researching also is Range. I don’t know if you’ve read that book but it’s great. It’s good. It’s got a lot of case studies about how the variety of what we know helps us able to do more. It’s been out for years. I can recommend a million books for what you’re talking about because I’ve had many wonderful people on the show. They’re all listed at DrDianeHamilton.com. What you’re trying to do is have that positivity because in entrepreneurship, especially in this time, many small businesses are suffering and they need to have that hope at the end of the tunnel for things getting better.

There’s never been a time to talk about The Power of Positivity and some of the things that you write about because it’s easy to get bogged down by thinking that mindset of like, “This is going to be hard.” We need bouncebackability after this. What you write and talk about is important. A lot of people would probably benefit from following you and reading your books and I’m sure they want to know how they can reach you. Is there a link or something that you’d like to share?

My website is at Cornell-Thomas.com. On social media, on Instagram @CornellThomas34 and everything else @CornellThomas. I’m very easy to find. Reach out and I’ll reach right back.

Thank you, Cornell. This was fun and it sounds like we have plenty to chat about. It was fun having you on the show. Thank you for doing it.

Thank you so much for having me. This is awesome.

You’re welcome.

I’d like to thank both Donna and Cornell for being my guest. We get many great guests. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com. You can find out everything you want to know about Cracking the Curiosity Code or the Curiosity Code Index on the site as well. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

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About Donna Detwiler

Donna Detwiler is the Founder and Co-founder of several successful for-profit businesses spanning over thirty years, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America. Donna served as CEO and successfully led those companies through varying stages of inception, growth, profitability and sale.

About Cornell Thomas

TTL 705 | Automated External DefibrillatorCornell Thomas is Professional Conversationalist, Author, and Social Entrepreneur. He has written several books with his fourth book called The Book of Cornellisms.


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