You have gifts and talents.
To a large degree, your happiness—and the contribution you make to others—is determined by whether or not you share your gifts and talents.
And believe it or not, your happiness does not depend on making a living or becoming famous or even widely recognized by sharing your gifts and talents, though it’s nice when those things happen.
As Abraham Maslow said, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”
Although it is possible to achieve wealth and fame by striving for them, some of the most content people I know enjoy wealth and fame as by-products of sharing their gifts and talents authentically in ways they enjoy.
In my last post, I shared four lessons I’ve learned as I’ve endeavored to share my gifts and talents by interviewing more than 100 authors over the last few years for the School for Good Living Podcast.
This post contains five more lessons that I hope you’ll find helpful for your own podcast or other creative endeavors.
1) Implement Structure and Process
Pretty much everything in life gets easier once it becomes routine.
As a teacher of mine once said, “Structure is your friend.”
Structure and process—in the form of routines—are great because routines can be mapped out and written down, studied and improved upon, and portions of them can be shared or delegated to others.
Naturally, whatever routines you implement will depend upon your desired outcomes, available resources, and personal preferences and work style.
What follows are a few routines that currently work well for me. As simple as any one of these are, they’ve all been pieced together one at a time, and they continue to evolve.
This gets pretty granular, and it’s not even comprehensive!
-Invite two authors, via email, to be guests on my podcast each Sunday evening
–Use Calendly to make it easy for guests to schedule
-Have my producer coordinate with guests once they’ve booked to test internet connection and equipment
-Read at least one of my guests’ books in advance of the interview, and research and prepare specific questions
-Make a Kiva microloan on behalf of each guest
-Conduct interviews Friday mornings and afternoons
-Follow pre-recording checklist immediately prior to interview (e.g. close Outlook, put phone in airplane mode, make sure I’ve got my water, notebook and list of questions as well as my guest’s bibliography, etc)
-After the interview, record an intro that the listener will hear
-Send the raw audio file to my editor and production team
-Send guest a thank you
-Release a podcast every Tuesday
-Send an email to my list and make social media posts to announce each podcast release
-Meet with members of my team (currently, my assistant and a social media and logistics expert) each Tuesday afternoon to review my recording and release schedule
I’m fortunate to have an assistant and a small team of professionals helping me. I didn’t start out that way, and you certainly don’t have to either.
Just do what you can with what you have.
Two final thoughts regarding structure and process:
“Rhythm replaces strength.” -Rudolph Steiner
“Consistency is the key to achieving and maintaining momentum.” -Darren Hardy
I think of my preparation in two main ways:
First, the guest-specific prep. Second, my state and mental readiness the day of the interview.
Prior to every interview, I research my guest’s background, their work and what they’ve written. I read as many of their books as reasonably possible, watch their TED talks and other speaking videos, listen to them on at least one other podcast, and review their website, Wikipedia page and social media accounts.
I do my best to distill all this to about ten questions that I’m curious about and that I think listeners will want to know the answers to.
My State and Mental Readiness
Doing all that research and prep goes a long way toward feeling peaceful and ready for the interview.
Additionally, I endeavor to sleep at least eight hours before an interview, and the morning of, to eat a nutritious breakfast and to exercise.
It also helps that my morning routine includes meditation. And just before we begin the interview itself, I invite my guests to do a moment of conscious breathing with me.
3) Collect Great Questions
I’m a question connoisseur. I pay particular attention to the questions people ask and how they ask them.
I keep a file in Evernote where I record questions I like.
I practice asking my kids questions at the dinner table, and I try out all manner of questions on people I’ve just met and those I’ve known for a long time but want to know better.
As I near the end of an interview, I like to ask my guests “What haven’t I asked you?” or “What else do you think our listeners will want to know?”
Great content almost always follows these questions.
4) Buy the Best Equipment You Can Afford
Research—and probably your own experience—suggests that the single most important factor when it comes to a podcast is the audio quality.
It doesn’t matter how great your content is or how popular your guest is, listeners tend to quit listening to poor audio quality that causes fatigue.
It’s with that in mind that I say, “Buy the best equipment you can afford.”
There are a couple of pieces of really good news: first, you can now get good equipment pretty cheap.
Second, you can probably borrow or rent equipment before you buy it. My experience is that a lot of audio equipment goes unused a lot of the time.
In addition to the equipment you use, give careful thought to the room in which you record. If you don’t have access to a professional studio (not many people do), there are many videos on YouTube about setting up a home studio.
Audible.com has created a TON of great content, including a piece called “Setting Up A Home Studio” that you can see here.
5) Ask for Help
It’s sometimes said, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”
No matter what your skills, talents, experience, knowledge and passions happen to be, you’ll eventually reach a limit somewhere—and it will likely come in the form of time, money and energy.
The good news is that there are SO many talented editors, producers, assistants and other creative professionals who will want to help you make your podcast or other creative endeavor a reality.
So, when you start bumping into limitations, ask for help!
I wish you the best in all your creative endeavors. I hope you find ways to use your gifts and talents in ways you find enjoyable and which make a meaningful contribution to others.
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