I love podcasts.
I mean, honestly, I’m a bit of an addict. Despite my own creative preference being the written word (and a few more hands-on artsy-fartsy mediums), I absolutely love the way that truly great podcasts weave oral storytelling with knowledge and leave me feeling and knowing more about the world and our connected existence.
I know that many small business owners and entrepreneurs exclusively utilize business-type podcasts (and there are some truly amazing ones — see below for suggestions!), but, as a writer and a creative, I have found that it’s essential that I leave the biz-cave and get my ears on some outside inspiration. Cue my obsession with Planet Money, This American Life, The TED Radio Hour and RadioLab.
However, there is one slightly business-y podcast that I cannot do without: The Beautiful Writers Podcast.
Led by the luminescent Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen, each month we get to meet - interview-style - creatives, authors, and publishing leaders. These ladies know some heavy hitters. Previously guests include Steven Pressfield, Elizabeth Gilbert, Gretchen Rubin and so many more.
This past week, however, I was catching up on missed episodes and found myself listening to Danielle and Linda’s interview with Seth Godin. Seth is known for his daily blog (yes, I said it… daily), his bestselling books (so, so many books), and his work with thought innovators in his AltMBA program. As for me, I know him as the “shipping guy.” He’s a proponent of the theory of just getting the shit out there. Ship it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done. Thus his daily blog. And all the books. And the world-changing, problem-solving marketing brand that he’s created without a social media following.
Truthfully, I was almost tempted to just leave the link to the podcast episode here and forgo my traditional blog post. It’s that transformative. As I listened to it in the car the other day, I found myself sighing and smiling, my spirit buoyed and challenged by his wisdom.
In my world, both business and life, the last few weeks have been all about tapping into that tender, wholehearted source of transformation and change: vulnerable courage.
In conversations with my entrepreneurial soul-sisters over the course of the past few weeks, we all seem to agree: building a business, one that feels like you, one in which you are able to be wholehearted, unique, and fully embodied… well, that is some seriously scary shit.
To put yourself out there, to create -- whether it's a business, a product, a service, or a connection -- is to be vulnerable. To risk rejection or criticism. It's a feeling of fear and trepidation and emotional nakedness.
And, let's face it, we're all incredibly good at creating stories around our imagined incompetence. We're pros when it comes to mapping out the worst case scenarios (which, of course, in our self-doubt, seem to speak the loudest). The story that Seth weaves sounds a hell of a lot like our own: "We do work, someone doesn't like it, they criticize it, everyone realizes that we are a fraud, the word spreads, we never get another gig again, people ignores us and we die alone."
Why put ourselves out there when it inevitably leads to a long life of loneliness and rejection?
But, if I've learned anything about anything it's this: you'll be ok.
Even if your bravery is met with skepticism. Even if your moment of courage looks a hell of a lot like lying prostrate on the ground. Even if you lose the job, or quit the job, or never even get the job. Even if that blog post leads to a slough of emails in your inbox telling you all the reasons why you're wrong.
You will be ok. And, more importantly, you will be doing the work that matters, the work that brings light and life and change, the work that looks like you and feels like love.
I know this much is true. It's been proven time and time again. Vulnerability (with is synonymous with courage) is like a muscle. You grow your capacity for it the more that you use it, practice it, play with it. As Brene Brown says, "Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement."
Truthfully, it rarely gets less scary. Every time I hit publish or raise my rates or create something new, the fear is still there. With every step towards aligning your business or your life or the copy on your website, there's a tinge of resistance that tells you that it's safer to stay put. And it just might be.
But beautiful things, important things, truly transformational things, have never been created from a place of safety.
And that fear? That whisper of resistance? It's a sign that you're doing something that could quite possibly lead to magic. And that's always worth the risk.
As promised, here are some highly-recommended business related podcasts (and a couple more that I adore, just for good measure):