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You know we could actually travel for miles and have this conversation. Wendy.
So Happy Day everyone. Thank you so much for being here.
All the gratitude in the world and I hope that you're having a fabulous day and looking forward to a wonderful weekend wherever you happen to be whenever you happen to watch this.
I just want to encourage you to enjoy the day. And today we have Wendy Gilhula Wendy is an amazing individual that I've been connected with on LinkedIn for a while.
And I wanted to share some of her wonderful gifts with the world and she's somewhat new to this video thing going on. But she's an author, speaker and just doing some amazing things out there and Wendy thank you so much for being on the #piratebroadcast and being a pirate now how are you today.
Is it official? Oh, thank you so much.
Yeah, You are now a pirate.
I'm so excited. I had this just made and they can do any Pika Bunny wants to know if he's a pirate too.
Yes. Pika Bunny is now a pirate. So fantastic. So let's talk about Pika Bunny. That's one of the big projects that you have going on right now or it's been an ongoing project.
Talk about the inception of where that started and how it evolved over time. And what you're going to what your plans are with that.
Well, it originally started the writing's almost three decades ago. And I wrote Pika bunny has a big question but he wasn't really Pika Bunny.
Then he was that he was Jack. He was a white rabbit with long years and nobody knew I was doing that. And I sent to publisher and I got rejected because the publisher said that kindness was not relevant, well you have to remember this is you know Mr. Rogers is still on every day and you really have to teach kindness anymore, so it's kind of, it's not kind of it actually is a blessing that it didn't get published back then because I feel like it's really needed. It's very relevant now.
Yeah. I think it's so needed now. So tell us about yourself, for those that aren't familiar with Wendy and your story. What's the Pika Bunny about and who is the audience and what is the motivation behind it. I mean you've been doing this for three decades you've been evolving this story and it's all been around kindness and it's always been around storytelling.
And so it's really needed right now. So. So what are you what are your thoughts or your what's your mission this year for. Getting the word out.
Well, I actually have a mission statement and my husband helped me with that. And it's to help children navigate a difficult world. You know I actually have a book series. My first book Pika Bunny in the thunderstorm talks about anxiety with approaching thunderstorms, and that's pretty popular if I go to hospitals because it's more than just a thunderstorm that could be any kind of thunderstorm in your life. You know you have to think about whether or not you're going to be anxious about it and if you can find anything positive in it, and then you can kind of rest in it when you're in the middle of it and then Pika Bunny has a big question about kindness and then Pika Bunny says Eep is the book that just came out last year that talks about finding courage to say no to bullying. So my career started as a dance instructor and a choreographer. So I would tell all my stories through dance and then I kind of segue wayed into math tutoring.
And then one of my students Adam said to me or he just asked me innocently what do you do all day when you're not tutoring. I know that funny so he was in middle school so I get it. I'm in my head Well in my head I said I write books that kids are never gonna read, and then on the outside, I said well you never know what Mrs. Gilhula is doing and then I didn't like that answer in the inner dialogue. So I pulled the manuscripts out of the bottom of a drawer which survived me throwing them away a few times and putting them back in the drawer and I thought you know, nobody knows I've written these, publishers not gonna remember me. So I was gonna brush it off. Edit it some send it off see what happens. Yeah, and I got a lot of no's which you know is normal and I wouldn't get upset with the no's anymore. And then when I got a yes. I was like what's going on. And then my kids were like wait what are you doing. Like well, I've written kid's books a couple of decades ago. It's been a wonderful journey. It's been really really fun and I thought you know getting the books and holding the book for the first time like that was going to be it. That was like the end of the rainbow right. And then I realized wow when I go to talk to schools how needed and how open the kids are to have these conversations.
And now it's like the rainbow has been pushed way back and I have more goals and it's just been amazing and I think everybody here I'm linked in for all the support all or it's just been amazing.
Well, I think some of the activities that you opened up you know when you come to the realization that you know every experience good or bad you know like thunder is it is a kind of a starting point to think or experience something different. You know even in your bad experiences in tragedy and some difficult circumstances there is always something that you can take away that is positive. If you're looking for the positive side of it the outcome and with yourself, you know with the storytelling. One of the things that I want to take away from this is and share is the fact that you didn't give up. You put it on pause until it was the right time. Then all of a sudden became the right time and it opened up and that was the start of the rainbow not the end of the rainbow right. And the fact that so many people are really starving for that idea that a little kindness and compassion a little time effort and energy can go into doing something positive.
And I applaud you for that and thank you for showing up in the community and sharing your gifts with us. Wendy appreciate it.
You know I just love your show because you bring all these people on that want to help. Lots of people who happen to share the kindness that you have in your heart. And that's what got me watching. It's like wait a minute this guy likes kindness too. I'm glad I'm not the only one. No, no not at all not even close. Shelly with her hashtag #decidetobekind and it's just been really fun.
Yeah. In fact, I want to say hello to a few people here that you got on the show. Sarita, Gabriel, Gabriel I heard you were looking for help on podcasting. Shoot me a message I'll be happy to help you out. Laurie, Vicki, Carolina. Kate, Tim Oh all these people Kimberly. You're in Tennessee. I'm in Houston. And we can share this with the world. Anybody with an opportunity to get online. And then it's shared other places and I think I see you know just like every time you watch the news it's all bad news because that's what sells and I think there's a huge opportunity for us to do at least plant seeds out there that #kindnessiscool. And you know things are not bad. and people generally have a very kind heart and want to help each other and support each other.
And I'm sure that you've found support in your journey here on LinkedIn.
Oh of course. Of course I have. There are too many people to name just too many people. I want to touch on what you were saying about you know the technology and everything.
So I've been able to read on via Skype and Microsoft educator in over 13 countries. Yeah. And nobody would ever have dreamt that somebody dreamt that this I guess a made it a reality.
But as I was doing one of the Skype readings for a classroom there was a little boy on the second row and he had a #kindnessiscool T-shirt and the reading hadn't started yet. And he was doing something not nice to the boy next to him. So I guess he thought it was a TV show or something. I don't know but then I was like, oh you on the second row what does your shirt say? although I could read it you know He says #kindnessiscool. Then I thought. OK. There's irony there but I'm not calling him out on it. Then I started thinking like how many times a day am I kind of just wondering like how I like what can I do with that. And then I decided one day I just woke up before my feet hit the floor. I was like I'm going to make an app I'm going to make a Pika Bunny kindness tracker and it's going to track areas of the school, home, and our planet. And so it's free. So if anybody after this wants to get on I have it for I.O.S and Google Play for Android so it's free. It doesn't track you. You don't have to sign up for anything. So it got pretty popular on LinkedIn, and a lot of my LinkedIn friends were saying Oh I'm used to like Mimi said I'm using it for myself instead of school instead of work and then Shelly with her you know just the hashtag #decidetobekind. So I'm making a version for adults to work and to use the workplace, home, and our planet. So look for that coming out probably in March.
Oh, that's fantastic. I will make sure that I'm aware of this and I'll share it. We'll come back and we'll talk about it when you launch. Being a pirate and all you know you gotta have some perks there are so.
Oh my gosh, I was so excited. OK.
So so all of a sudden you have the stories your reading stories to kids around the world via Skype. All of these things are going on. So you know on a day to day basis are you going to be writing additional stories for the future going forward.
Yes. So I have a manuscript from my first chapter book when I was at several schools. I am sorry I am so excited to be here. I was at several schools and they were like well are you doing chapter books are you doing chapter books. I want to grow up with Pika Bunny, so I have my first chapter book manuscript is out right now to a couple of places. So you know hopefully I'll get a yes. I'm starting the chapter book series for advanced readers for Grade 1-3. Again working on two other manuscripts for my learning series.
Oh, Fantastic. So the Learning series talk a little bit about what that brings to the table.
That's where I had the books with anxiety and so the additional books will have like issues like being afraid of school and things like that bullying you know. Yeah exactly.
So how do you typically share this information with an audience do you. How do you work your outreach program what does that look like for us so we can help you?
Well, I started out with Instagram. I mean I am on Instagram and most of my followers are teachers. And Microsoft education. They have they had a website but they changed it over where I had Two lessons I had one for big questions about love and then I had another I have my other one for bullying so teachers could sign up and get free readings. So that's how I started. And then now I'm in schools a little bit more often which I love I'd love to be in schools. So if anybody wants a school visit go to my Website WendyGihula.com or find me here please find me here I am here all the time.
Connecting with Wendy on Linkedin. It's a pretty simple equation. Yeah. And here's the thing. Here's the beauty of the pirate broadcasts of being a pirate is the fact that we're streaming to Facebook YouTube, Periscope and LinkedIn which I think my Linkedin numbers have gone down because I'm sharing on other platforms that may be an algorithm thing and I don't know. It's just it just seems like you know when I first launched live the numbers were really big.
Your show is like the way out and I don't really know why you were surprised. Like it felt like this week you're like I'm scheduled out until when is it March or April. Yeah like. Why is he surprised.
Yeah, I am booking March now.
It's no surprise to us. why does it surprise you?
Well, that's a great point. And that's the part of the Learning series that you're developing as people get so involved in their own head that they fail to understand and see what others see of them right. And it's one of those things that you tell yourself a story that is not necessarily accurate. And it takes other people to be able to say hey we like this. We enjoy what you're doing.
And sometimes you know I'm just going through here experimenting and seeing what happens and you know I love highlighting people like yourself Wendy because I think the world needs it.
I just know that it's a good thing to do. And I enjoy it and I have fun with it. And I hope people enjoy it. So it brings me joy. So that's what's important.
Well, I think that I think that we were all born kind. If you around my age I think kindness kind of grew out of our hearts sometimes. Know where it's scary to be kind
Yes. Because you know we might hurt somebody's feelings or somebody might take our intentions the wrong way or so I'm just trying to maybe bring that back for adults.
It does feel good to be kind.
Well, I think just simple things like Please and thank you and you know if you're if you have somebody, waiting on your table if you're at a restaurant or something I always have the habit of asking the individual's name so I can say thank-you fill in the blank. And notice people you know open doors, return your carts, put your trash away you know just simple things that everyday things and I think when we were young it's just naturally there. And then through life the baggage of life we carry around kind of filters out that kindness and then we become protective of our space and our thoughts and what we're doing. Like if you go through the grocery store and you start trying to say hello to people in the aisles as you're going down or good morning, or good afternoon or have a nice day or anything. People will avoid contact.
Or be a little afraid. I know I'm one that I might say something and then people are like and I'm not trying to hurt you I'm just being nice
I've posted about this many many times. It's like you're, I don't know on a trail someplace. You know you're both hiking. Both out in the wild. You know it's like you're passing somebody on a trail. You said hello. And sometimes they don't say hello. They don't respond or anything. And I just think that's interesting. And so the baggage that we've developed over the years is just so powerful. And I think that we can break that down a little bit through stories like what you're doing with pink bunny and just challenging the idea that that's what should be normal.
And I don't know that that should be normal. I think I think #kindnessiscool and that we should share it more often.
[18:45] Absolutely. And it's really fun to hear the kids answers about how can we be kind at school. You know they're so sweet especially like the kindergarten and the first grade.
You can help somebody when they fall down. I'm getting old so if I fall down you're going to help me up, right. I hope you do. Just to have heart back. It puts a little spark in your day.
Yeah, it does. And it really allows us to actually share that again. You know it's hard to be in a bad mood when you're helping somebody out of a bad mood. You know, does that make sense?
Exactly Or when somebody says that's the first smile I've seen today. I feel sad for them like wow and then you try to smile at everybody. Like wow, they're not even enough smiles out there.
Yeah yes, #smilesarefree. Right. #Smilesarefree. I'll take one down and pass it around.
This is cool. #Smilesarefree. Yeah. I know who says that.
Yeah. Somebody says that I know. So. So let's talk about your journey on LinkedIn because you know being in the educational space and being with teachers a lot of times. I imagine they're more reserved on LinkedIn the most audiences most communities. However, that may or may not be the case because you know I may not be aware of everything that happens in other people's communities. But what's your LinkedIn journey look like. What the process for you? What has been the process for you? Well, I had joined years ago here you know I thought it was just for resumes and you know finding jobs. Never I got on around September or October I got on and then I started realizing that it was now a community. Where people were reaching out and they were talking about value. I don't know when people started talking about value but I heard it a lot in September and October and I just got on board with that because I thought oh wow this is great. Like this is this is right up my alley talking about you know things that are kind in and helping somebody and maybe hopping on a call for 30 minutes.
Doug Thompson hopped on the call with me. One of my goals for 2020 is to have a TED talk and we had connected He's like I'm happy to join hop on a call with you know us like people do that?
People by their phone call and I've spoken with Carla Howard and, just look at me and Carla called me the other day and it's like Carla Howard is calling me and what we're doing is we're,
we're organizing a LinkedIn local event in Knoxville for this fall.
We're still in the venue stage so. If you interested and from Knoxville let me know if you know of a good venue that might be good for LinkedIn local because it feels like it was baby steps and then all of a sudden you know I'm running, I don't know where I am running to.
Let's keep running
I am running with scissors on LinkedIn, watch out.
We'll pick the destination later.
No, but I have made some great connections and I'm hoping I'm helping people too. So yeah
Well, it just so it's so exciting to me to think that there are other people out there and you know it's one of those things where you say OK riches are in the niches right.
Well you know kindness is not necessarily something I would consider a niche. However, a lot of people are may not necessarily think about it. And. With. You know finding other people in the audience in the community and the people that are surrounding us there is a whole opportunity for people to say OK yeah I buy into this idea. I'm not selling you a box of kindness or anything like that. It's not a container or package I could put anything on. However, I think it's it's more of a movement than anything I think we need to start thinking about it.
Start focusing and start talking about it and saying OK you know all of this you know because social media has a lot of comparisons involved in it. A lot of you know all there I wish I were I was where they are and it's not necessarily a good thing. So if we just focus on the kindness and being who we are and in doing what we're doing I think I think we're going to be more satisfied with life in general. And I think we need to start having those conversations. And it's on both ends of the spectrum. It's like I'm not good enough or I'm being bullied you know.
So I think we need to continue those conversations and bring to light the ability to feel good about who we are and what we're doing.
[24:11] Well that's funny that you know you're saying that because I totally agree.
And you had Richard Moore on your show and I'm a fan of his too and I'm not even sales are, I start watching his lives and I'm learning stuff and I'm like wow like I don't have the sales gene. This is great. And then he was on your show and I was like I'm a fan and I'm not saying oh you know you meet so many people you normally wouldn't have there and you just go with the ones that are. I go with the ones that are being positive they aren't necessarily trying to promote kindness but just the positivity I get during the day. Now you know makes it worth my time.
And that's really one of the foundations of what I want to do is bring the diversity to the table. It's like you know people on LinkedIn that are helping others learn more about LinkedIn and,
like Richard is in sales and I've got other people that are looking at branding and kindness in general and just really opening it up like Carol Campos she energy.
You know she's really into a lot of the spiritual stuff so, all of these ideas if we could continue to learn and explore and understand how other people are thinking and some of the ideas that they're bringing to the table then maybe, our guards going to be down about some of the opinions that we hold on to, and you know may be open up to the world and saying you know there are some other ideas out there that exist that are OK.
Exactly. We can learn something.
If we just open up don't have those walls up like Lila Smith Every time I talk to her I'm like oh my goodness I have to write it down every time I talk to her I have to write down what she's saying because she has so many great things to say. I would have met her if I wasn't here.
Yeah. And. YeaEspirian over in the UK and well Richard's another one and these people are putting out ideas. You know Vicki O'Neill is another one here that is constantly in the group and Sherry Lally and Kenyatta Turner and all of these individuals are bringing joy to the world and putting it in place and Lori Knudsen she's been on a couple of times she's a two-time pirate.
So and these individuals
We should all get together in person
Yes. Yes, we really should yes we need to get together. So let's do that.
So Derek Monroe, Angie Schuman, is another one. Brilliant. Joy McAdams, Hi how are you. Kimberly, just all of these, Tim Sultan Good morning you know the fact that we're here and have the opportunity to share this and just have a conversation and just you know hang out a little bit. Wendy it's really been it's really been amazing for me. And it brings a lot of joy. It's a great way for me to start the day. It's just I enjoy it. I want to ask you so you have a couple of manuscripts out there, you're going to continue to pursue the lessons and the learning episodes,
how can we help you in that linked in the community what's something that we can put our minds together and put out there and how can we assist you in your journey.
Thank you for asking. Well, I have done all of this without an agent so I'm still looking for an agent that will believe and Pika Bunny and my stories. So if anybody knows of anybody who I could query I'd be very grateful. I have met my manuscripts out to nine-story and also Fred Rogers Productions is aware of my work. I'm my ultimate goal is really hard to say okay this is your fault, Russ, because you had Michelle out last week and she you know you do your ASK. And oh was I ready for it. I talked to Michelle too. And so now I ASK.
She's a firecracker.
She is. So this is your fault, Russ. My ultimate goal is I would love to have a TV series my idol growing up my TV dad is Mr. Rogers. You know I can't be Mr. Rogers. I can write anything to replace Mr. Roger's work. But he spoke to me. I mean he it was really me he was talking to. So I want to pay it forward to one child. I want them to know that I'm talking to them.
So when I'm reading an on Skype like I love the question that left there for them to come up to the computer and actually talk to me, yesterday I was at a school reading and I had my microphone and I love to get to it. If they have a question I go up to the one that has a big question for me I go with the mike from the right in the eye I see them and I'm I just want to give that back.
Yeah, that's beautiful. That's beautiful. And it will. And it will happen. So you know every dream starts with an idea. And the only difference between a dream and a reality is taking action and you're doing that every day. So just continue to do that. Put your foot forward and push forward and get your ASK together.
Yes. It's together. I do that.
Oh, that's beautiful. That's beautiful. I love that Wendy, so Wendy if you had to leave one thing with us today and it's you know you want to plant the seed for something and going forward what would you want to share with everyone.
I want to share that, it takes a lot of courage to do something new and if you have a story in your heart or something or some inner dialogue you're telling yourself. I wish I was doing that to just take that baby step and know to ask yourself why you want to do it and then ask yourself how you can take a baby step toward it. So it could be researching something. It could be whatever's in your inner dialogue that doesn't feel comfortable that you want to do something different and new I just encourage you to find that courage to take that first step,
and don't look back.
Beautiful thank you so much, Wendy, for being here and for anyone else that is joining us today. Live my gratitude all the gratitude in the world. Thank you so much for being here.
If you're watching the replay and you hear this please do follow the #PirateBroadcast. #PirateBroadcast on LinkedIn and subscribe to the youtube channel anything or go to Russ John's.com and get notifications on the next episode that comes out. I look forward to sharing this broadcast out with anywhere everywhere and this afternoon. It'll be available Wendy for I'll be on my post and a podcast so it'll be on all the podcasts.
Thank you. Happy to share.
Yeah. So thank you so much, Wendy. And you know #kindnessiscool #Smilesarefree and you #Enjoytheday