Season 5, Episode 13 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Kim Strobel

Season 5, Episode 13 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Kim Strobel

Teach Happy with Kim Strobel

This is Season 5, Episode 13 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Kim Strobel. Don’t miss our wide-ranging discussion about teaching happier, taking steps toward joy, brain science, positivity…and so much more.


Kim Strobel Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

Kim Strobel is a renowned motivational speaker and author of the forthcoming Teach Happy: Small Steps to Big Joy, sought after by schools, businesses, and organizations worldwide. With her powerful message about the impact of happiness on well-being and the pursuit of fulfillment, she traverses the globe, sharing her insights. 

Kim specializes in empowering educators and professionals, equipping them with the necessary tools and strategies to shift their mindsets, reclaim their happiness, reignite their passion, and lead with purpose.

Drawing from her extensive background as a teacher and curriculum director, Kim’s ultimate aim is to inspire her audience. Through her engaging talks, she presents captivating research, heartwarming anecdotes, and practical steps for achieving life-altering results.

In addition to her professional pursuits, Kim is a devoted animal rescuer, having rescued 187 dogs. She is also an avid runner and has an unwavering love for life.

FocusED Show Notes with Guest Kim Strobel

A positive brain is 30% more productive than a brain that is neutral or stressed. ~ Kim Strobel

Kim starts with the fact that happiness is scientifically based, regardless of what some people may think about the skill of developing happiness. 

She takes a step back and says that there are heavy feelings. She doesn’t promote toxic positivity, but we ought not to get stuck in the gutter, either. 

Don’t miss what she says about the power of happiness in helping us to become more engaged and creative. 

Kim isn’t shy about what we’re typically taught–put your head down and work hard, more hours, etc. That just doesn’t work if we want to be effective. 

Joe is candid about how stress can create rumination, and then we enter autopilot. He asks Kim to help with the mindset shift that many of us need. 

Kim describes parts of the brain, how they work, and the subconscious mind that’s driving thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. 

She tells us that too many people are on cognitive overload. We have 70,000 thoughts a day, and 60% are negative. 

Our negative brains are what keep us safe as humans, but that’s mostly not necessary anymore. 

Kim reminds us that our minds and our thoughts are within our control. The number one strategy to rewire our neurofeedback is to use gratitude. Writing down 3 thoughts of gratitude per day can literally change your mind about yourself and the world. 

In our gratitude practice, which is a happiness habit, we must be specific–not just that we’re able to exercise but that we can run 30 miles per week. Be specific! 

Don’t miss what she says about habit stacking. 

She gives granular advice to teachers about how to build happiness habits with students in the classroom. 

Joe asks Kim to dive deeper into her meditation chair. The need for tradition and habit is critical to building success and mitigating decision fatigue. 

Kim opens up about her own trials with panic disorder and the suffering that she went through as she helped herself out of a dark state. 

We can blame anyone for anything, but at the end of the day, our happiness is our own responsibility. 

Kim describes the work ethic that many of us have as being gratifying because we’re drained after giving our all to something, but that’s not the best strategy for real happiness. 

She tells us that 50 hours of work leads to about 37 hours of productive time; and, 55 hours leads to 35 hours of productive time. Five more hours and we lose 3 that were potentially productive. 

Don’t miss what she says about putting our energy into the things that fuel us rather than the things that deplete us. 

Check out the gratitude tracker that Kim mentions during the show. 

Find Kim at

Books We Recommend Based on this Podcast with Kim Strobel

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Before Happiness by Shawn Achor 

The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky 

Atomic Habits by James Clear 


Related Content from TheSchoolHouse302

Wendy Turner talks about adult SEL

Lainie Rowell talks about the power of gratitude.


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FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next.