How To Share Your Voice When You’re Afraid
The first day I launched the podcast three years ago, I felt absolutely nauseous from the thought of putting my voice out into the world that I almost threw up. I was expecting criticism and even humiliation and instead what I found was mostly support and love, coming from all of you. It’s amazing to see the difference between what we think will happen versus what actually does happen. In honor of the 100th episode, I wanted to share my top 10 learnings from starting this journey.
1 . You do NOT need to put your best forward.
Here’s the truth: There were many times when I was strapped for time, and I couldn’t do a re-rerecording of one of my intros or outros. I honestly had to let it go, and let it publish very well knowing there was that background noise, or that I stumbled on a few words, and that it wasn’t my absolute best. I had to make a trade-off between quality and time, which was often difficult, but by now I’ve trained myself to get over it. This idea of “putting your best forward” actually inhibits us from getting our voices out into the world.
2. You can stop if you need to.
I needed a major break from interviewing, so for the latter half of this Spring season, I did NOT conduct any new interviews, but re-aired my favorites from the archive. My editor Anne helped me script a new intro, I recorded it (in under 5-10 minutes), and we shipped them. Launching seasonal periods (with rests in-between) was also key.
3. You can change if you want to.
I changed the cover art of the podcast, which used to be an “H” to my face (thanks, hope you like it). And I will probably change it again in the future when my book launches. I also changed the format of the podcast (which had always been long-form interviews or short wisdom episodes) with the fairytale series. You all were used to me giving you advice in one way (go do this, don’t do this), but instead I told you about old stories and how they might relate to your lives. Don’t be precious.
4. Play & experiment.
The fairytale series was a way for me to experiment and see if I enjoyed making said episodes. I also wanted to see how you all would respond. If you listened, reply and let me know your thoughts! What did you like? What do you wish was different? I’m all ears.
5. Ask for help.
Where would I be without all of you? Honestly, as a solo creator who works largely independently, I need your love to make this engine keep going. I’ve had to get over any shyness in asking for reviews, encouragement, emails, survey responses, and even a little bit of dough to help keep the podcast afloat. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t ask for help.
6. Detach from results.
There are some episodes that get way more downloads than others. There are some Instagram posts that get way more likes and comments than others. There are some months that get more reviews than others. There are some months that get more Patreon supporter than others. But if I let these results and metrics completely sway WHY I’m doing this, I’d be dead. Instead, I remember the why. Because I care about women’s stories and voices. I care about YOU. I care about us feeling more empowered. I care about uplifting and inspiring. Don’t worry about numbers. That’s it.
7. Patience, patience, patience.
In my conversation with Debbie Millman, she said something I’ll never forget: “Anything worthwhile takes time.” As I’m learning with the book, these things take time and it’s a slow build and grind. You get these inflection points that give you an influx of growth but overall, it’s pretty slow, and growth isn’t linear. So practice patience…and keep going.
8. Keep yourself inspired.
Sounds cliché but I never really understood how important it was to actively cultivate and stoke inspiration until we entered the seventh season of the show. People can tell when you’re not inspired. Other people are inspired when you’re inspired. Because your passion is contagious. As the Spring season approached this year, I began to dread a little bit. When I asked myself, “What would most inspire me?” the fairy tale series was born. In fact, the fairy tale series led me to get greater clarity on my second book (which you certainly do not have to worry about right now). Variety supports inspiration. So do breaks. Take a lot of them.
9. Don’t be afraid of firsts.
There will be a first for everything. This season had a lot of firsts. It was my first time doing a fairytale episode. It was also my first time re-running a show from the archive. It was my first time collaborating with a wellness and social club for a live show. It was my first time doing an Instagram Live. Last season, there were also a handful of firsts. And the season before that. If you aren’t willing to DO firsts, then you won’t move forward. If you let go of perfection, firsts will come more easily.
It’s so easy to look at what hasn’t been done. For a while, I was having anxiety because with so many wonderful interviews, I worried about distribution (on other podcasts, blogs, etc.). All I kept fixating on was how it wasn’t enough. And when I let that go, I feel a great sense of relief. You can only do what you can do, so celebrate what YOU ARE doing.
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