It’s been an amazing week. After more than a year of idle dreaming, several months of planning and preparation, and a few weeks of hardcore recording and editing, this week I launched my new podcast, Hack the Process.
A Little Background
I’ve known that I wanted to launch a podcast for more than a year now. I’ve been chatting with friends about it, and trying to refine the idea in my head–where it always had a lot of competition for my attention. It’s been a struggle justifying the investment against the possible rewards. A podcast is a huge commitment of time and energy, and not something that has any immediate return. But when I ask my heart, it feels like the right thing to do.
Some of the benefits that I hope for include reconnecting with friends who are doing wonderful things with their time and energy, and making new friends with interesting backgrounds and stories to tell. A podcast gives you an excuse to spend an hour with somebody you haven’t spoken to for a while, or even somebody you haven’t ever met before, and ask them all sorts of personal questions about their lives, what they’re working on, and what they’re passionate about.
Procrastination and Fear
I spent a little bit too much time worrying about what the subject of my podcast was going to be. (You should see the list of domains I registered while considering options!) Choosing just one focus out of all my interests sometimes felt as if I was going to have to deny everything else important to me. At other times, I couldn’t think of a single interest in my life that seemed large enough to justify even an hour of conversation, let alone a whole show.
The advice you come across when you’re considering starting something like this is also very broad. Some people tell you to jump right in and let the audience tell you what they’re looking for after you launch. Other people tell you to focus on the tiniest most specific niche you can possibly define. Some folks say you should copy the people who are successful, by whatever definition of success you have. Others tell you that if you don’t have something original to say, you shouldn’t be saying anything at all.
In the end, I had to choose my own path. We all do. I decided that the focus I would use as my guiding force was my own tendency to procrastinate by working on details in isolation, sometimes incubating ideas in the dark hidden recesses of my mind until they suffocated. This has allowed me to fail silently many times, without facing the universal fear of public humiliation, and pretend to myself that it wasn’t a failure because I never really tried. I know I’m not alone. And I believe I can help myself and others become aware of this behavior.
So I decided to make a show about hacking the process of moving past procrastination and into action. I would interview people who’ve shown an ability to take the next step, to find out how they did it, what tips and tools they found useful, and what they learned along the way. If nothing else, it would definitely be a show I would want to listen to and learn from. And I don’t think I’m alone.
The strongest support came from getting outside my own head and teaming up with a tiny mastermind group of friends who already have podcasts, or who are starting podcasts themselves. I was fortunate to meet these people at a podcasting class we took together at CreativeLive. Out of the students there, we all gravitated toward each other almost instinctively, and stayed connected through social media. I have gotten inspiration, information, and motivation from these folks, and I’m so grateful to them for helping.
When I was ready to get started, I chose to interview members of my mastermind group as some of my first podcast guests. And it was a very good decision. Not only did they have the equipment and the skill to speak comfortably as I practiced my interview techniques, but the content of the interviews themselves provided me with encouragement and support for exactly what I wanted to do.
Also, once I had recorded interviews and made a commitment to these people that I was going to publish, there was no turning back!
One of the benefits of procrastinating the way I tend to, by studying and doing research, is that you learn a lot. Once I dove in, I had a pretty good idea what tools and techniques I would need to master in order to make a podcast happen. I had even invested in some toys and tools to make it easier. Even so, I wasted weeks dithering over unimportant details as my target launch date grew closer. But a few check-ins from members of my mastermind group helped light a fire under me, and I published on schedule.
Getting the Ball Rolling
It’s only been a few days since I launched with my first three episodes, and already I’m hearing from people who are enjoying the shows and getting something useful out of them. Even listening to them myself, I discover things I didn’t hear the first fifteen times I went over them while I was editing. (And it’s amazing what a few positive reviews from unknown people on iTunes will do for your ego.)
In the coming weeks I’ll be publishing more of my interviews, and maybe a few special episodes that focus on particular subjects near and dear to my heart. I’m going to continue letting my fears guide me, and not edit myself as much as I might be inclined to, so I can learn from the response I receive.
I hope you stick with me through the experiments, and give me feedback. When I ask myself what motivates me to do this, it comes down to the hope that somebody out there might benefit from the information I’m gathering and presenting. So if anything in my podcast helps you in any way, please let me know. You’ll be doing me a big favor.
On with the show!