A typical call with a new client goes a lot like this, “I’ve been planning my podcast for about six months now. I promised myself this year that I’d get it going, but got too busy”. Sound familiar? If this is you, please don’t read on. There’s little value you’ll even glean from this post. Why? Because, you’ve already set yourself up to fail.
“I will” is an admission of what you are not
Part of my job is “onboarding” new clients and podcasters. I’m grateful each day to listen to the ideas, aspirations, and motivations of such a wide variety of personalities that podcasting attracts. What’s more, is how I begin to see patterns emerge of the psychological profiles that lead some to succeed, some to fail, and some to never even start. One little collocation I listen for is “I will”.
A small combination of words we use to express intent. However, it’s one I’ve recognized as a warning sign that podcasters are on a path to procrastination, and eventual defeat. Overly dramatic? I say not. It’s been my observation that those who are driven to succeed rarely say “I will”, rather say “I have” and “I am”. These are little linguistic signals that point toward accomplishment.
Yep. I do loathe the popularity of those words together, but it’s pretty dead on. A healthy percentage of new podcasters spin their tires on comparing ideas to what is out there, and worry that it’s not going to be as good. Or worse, it’s not going to stand out. If you’re worried about either of those, I have bad news for you. You’re probably right.
That said, there’s a solution.
Stop Learning and Start Doing
I’m an Aries. You don’t need to believe in that stuff to see how I get things done. I put my head down and just start ramming at things. Crude, often effective, this gets me onto a path of accomplishing small goals.
Any writer will tell you that you need to write. A lot. Every day. Yes, there needs to be reading and research. Indeed one must stay current and sharp. Yet the best writers write. And the best podcasters podcast. Stop reading this. Right now. Turn on your microphone, put your head down, and start ramming. I promise I won’t be offended.
Stay Independent of the Good Opinion of Other People
Abraham Maslow, famous for his paper A Theory of Human Motivation, spoke often of self-actualized people and how their behaviors differed from us “normies”. One nagging little hook that holds many podcasters back from starting is that we worry others will not approve of, or praise, our show. Ask yourself, “Did my favorite podcasters start their show with the intent of garnering approval?” Likely, no. Those whose content we revere couldn’t care less about what you think, really. In fact, the less they care about your opinion, the more we revere them. It’s like that that cool guy in high school all the girls wanted to be with. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him, and that made him even more attractive.
Sometimes You Can’t See the Path Until You Walk It
Unless you’re creating a series that needs careful planning, you might want to consider just pressing record. This was the advice given last year by Chris Brogan at Podcast Movement. Ask any seasoned podcaster about their first 20 shows and they’ll cringe. However, they also will follow quickly with how they improved over time and finally got into a groove. They found their voice. It’s usually because they didn’t know where the show would lead until they started doing it.
I’m a huge proponent of iterative progress and dynamic planning. I like to think we don’t know where we’re going until after we’ve arrived and can reflect on the journey. Sparing the armchair psychology of how we humans may reflectively impose order on chaos, I truly do believe the best destinations are arrived at via radical detours.
Allow yourself the luxury of experimentation. Make big, embarrassing mistakes. I know, I know. “But my image, my brand, my cred!” Remember the high school boy? Ya, he just punched you in the throat and stole your girlfriend.
Kidding aside, if you’ve made it to this sentence you missed the point. You should have stopped reading long ago and taken my advice. Turn on the mic, press record, and don’t stop. If you won’t, then rid yourself of the guilt and us the boring excuses, and please don’t start at all.