Today I’m sharing ways that committing to a creative endeavor – including, but not limited to, hosting a podcast – is like a personal development seminar by sharing the specific ways producing over 700 episodes of this podcast has helped me grow as a person.
If you’re dreaming of starting a podcast, or putting any kind of creative work out in the world, I hope that hearing these things will help you take the plunge–or even if you don’t need to learn these same lessons, that hearing this list will help you realize that sharing your voice in some way can help you work with whatever areas of growth are waiting for you.
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Some of the personal development benefits I’ve experienced as a direct result of publishing this podcast are:
I mean I can’t tell you how many things I’ve started and then wandered away from. It’s not BAD to do that. It’s kind of part of the process. But consistency was really a new frontier for me–to do something even when I didn’t feel like doing it, and to do it over the long term. I really didn’t know I had it in me. I also didn’t really fully understand just how much time it would take each week, ha, so there’s that! But because I’ve been able to be consistent, I’ve also had the opportunity to experience the fact that you do get more efficient with practice.
Another area I’ve been able to strengthen is Accountability
Any time you sign up to help other people with something you rope yourself up into doing the things you are telling other people to do. For example, when I was working on the exercise episodes last week, I dusted off my fitbit knock off and reached out to some friends to start a new virtual walking challenge. It’s like the podcast is my coach. Certainly, I do plenty of dinking around and stuff that’s not in any way productive or beneficial, but knowing I’ve got more podcast episodes to write turns my thoughts back to acting on my better instincts, and that is meaningful to me.
A big one for me has been Going with good enough
When I first started writing for magazines in 2004, I pored over every word I wrote again and again and again until I turned in something that I felt was impeccable. I mean, it’s an honorable intention to do good work, but also…. That’s what editors are for, lol. There’s a difference between needing things to be perfect, and trusting yourself to do your best and letting good enough be, well, good enough.
It’s been very freeing for me to do my best with the time I’ve got and then ship the work in the state that it is. (I do have editors on this project, too, to help me sound better.) It’s about strengthening your letting go muscles so that you don’t carry around more worry about your work than is helpful. It’s also about building your trust in your own work, which–although you don’t want to get complacent–helps you do more work because it doesn’t take as much out of you.
Here’s something that’s a pretty big deal: owning my identity as a creator
I have wanted to be a writer since I was a kid and I entered every writing contest I encountered and even got my poems published in the paper a few times. But it took my until my early 30s to admit to myself that that’s really what I wanted to be when I grew up. Bylines in magazines and even on book covers certainly helped me own my identity as a creator, but I got those because someone basically gave me the assignment and I signed a contract to deliver it. No one was making me start this podcast except me. And it feels really good to know that I can dream something up, build it, and keep it going.
And finally, something that every body needs help with: Working with your own resistance
It is a big deal to put your thoughts, beliefs, stories, and creative effort into some package that you slap your name on and then share it with others. It will make 99.5% of people quake in their boots at some point. As a friend of mine said, it’s like lifting up your skirt and showing everyone your panties. There is going to be a parade of unkind thoughts, along the lines of, Who do you think you are? Nobody gives a shit! And, What is the point?
To put any creative project out requires courage in the face of a whole lot of resistance. It may come from your own inner critic, or from your life that feels like it goes bananas just as you’re trying to devote yourself to a creative project, or maybe from something someone said, or even a funny look someone you love gave you when you told them what you were up to. Learning how to tolerate resistance and keep going anyway, well, that’s priceless.