Do the podcast waters scare you?
Podcasting is a lot of work. I put a lot of thought and effort into writing each episode. I try to deliver quality content week in and week out. I also do my thing. My podcast teaches how to podcast and create online content. There are a lot of podcasts about podcasting and general tech. I like many of them, but when I started I did not ask for their blessing or seek their stamp of approval.
Imposter syndrome is when you think you are not qualified or good enough or whatever to teach or podcast or blog or write books and something that affects a lot of content creators online. I’m sure most people experience imposter syndrome to some degree in their journey, but for many they will not hit publish on a Medium article or record episode one because they worry about what the experts in their niche might think or they just simply lack confidence in their own abilities and knowledge. I am thankful that I am not affected by impostor syndrome as the inner self-critic in me is all I can handle. I get it and understand it and feel bad for those who are paralyzed by it. I get paralyzed by my inner-apathy and an over-analytic mind, but I do not let others tell me what I should do. I listen and learn from others I respect, but I do not pay attention to noise or negativity. I am a one man band.
Are you thinking of starting a podcast but apprehensive? Maybe you’re downright scared as I know many are. On my Monday Night Q&A sessions there are the three main reasons I hear on a regular basis from people who really want to start a podcast but they are nervous, unsure and well, scared:
Fear #1:. I am not good enough or knowledgeable enough to compete with others who are already doing what I want to do (Imposter)
Fear #2: I am not a tech or gear person and the audio seems so complicated and I really feel overwhelmed by what I need (social media opinion overload)
Fear #3: I’m not sure I can handle the commitment with life and work and family, etc. (Truth)
Side Note on Me: I’m a realistic cheerleader and I have always rooted for the underdog, but my first reaction is not to say Just Do It! or Go For It! I’m perceptive, strategic and I help people figure things out. Some people are not ready or are just too busy and I help them realize that without making them feel bad about themselves. Some people are just plain lazy and I tell them everyone is confused when they start something new, but guess what, you have to take the initiative and learn. Take Pat Flynn’s or JLD’s free tutorials and do your homework. Learn is the first step. Creating is Next. Hard work is a requirement.
Back to the fears: Reason #3 is the only one to worry about. Committing to even a weekly podcast is hard. I have no kids or pets and one solo 18-minute podcast is challenging week after week. For me, writing the script is mentally hard. Once the script is done, the recording and everything else is pretty easy for me. So my advice is don’t fool yourself about podcasting. It’s really hard week after week to show up and do the work. The fun wears off rather quickly, so be honest with yourself. And guess what, if you get 5, 10 or 20 episodes in and decide it’s not for you. So what, you tried. More than most can say.
Back to imposter syndrome, you are not in the podcast game to impress or seek approval from other podcasters on Facebook and Google+ or Twitter, your why is your own. For everything in life. Be you and don’t apologize for trying or feel ashamed if you fail. I think many prospective and even current podcasters think they are under the microscope of other podcasters. Is my topic good enough, is my artwork acceptable to you, how many episodes do I need, is my audio quality good enough? Read the answers on Facebook & Google+ and no wonder people are scared and confused. You know what they say about opinions…
When I launched my podcast, I didn’t have a laser focused niche or target audience defined. I started a podcast because I wanted to have a podcast. I feel compelled to share things I know and find interesting. I do not like to see others struggle, so if my knowledge or skills can help someone, I’m in. I started a podcast for selfish reasons. I wanted to be better. I wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted to accomplish something rather than dream about making a dent in the universe. I needed to stop consuming and learning so much and create more. I did my homework and learned all about podcasting before I started, but I did not wait until I had a target audience or niche or product to sell or email list or community to serve. I started because I needed to start or I would never find the right time. I don’t fear other people’s criticism, but I do suffer from paralysis analysis. I can talk myself out of anything if I’m not careful. Just don’t let others talk you out of something you want to try. I am all about integrity and keeping standards high, but podcasting is not sacred. If you try and fail, so be it. You are not auditioning for other podcasters or social media naysayers. Remember that. Your why is yours alone.
Find your voice
I started my podcast in September of 2015 and and at that time I did not plan on recording a podcast on a nude beach in San Francisco or a tropical beach in Naples or on an airboat in a gator-infested river of grass known as The Everglades. I had no clue what I wanted and still really don’t, but I just do things. I just keep moving forward trying to figure it out as I go. Not ideal, but it’s better than sitting around hoping an answer falls on my lap. My way. My voice. My style. A new restaurant opens up every day and guess what, no two are the same. You are different than me and everyone else. Just work hard at learning who you are and give it all you have. Don’t seek validation for your every move.
I recorded a podcast in The Everglades because I’m an odd duck and I like to figure things out for myself and others. I also wanted to give people confidence to just stop worrying about all the mumbo jumbo you hear in podcast communities or social media platforms where everyone has an opinion and advice on how you should do things or why you should do things. This is where imposter syndrome comes from. You surround yourself with people who live, breathe and talk about a topic and then you think the whole world is watching your every move. If you lack self-awareness and confidence it may feel like you are swimming in gator-infested waters. Don’t let this small sample fool you. The rest of the world is big and have no idea of your competitors podcast or online community. John Lee Dumas is a big cheese in my world and not one of my friends or relatives have ever heard of him. When I post a podcast episode, it is not for acceptance from my critics or community of podcasters, it is for my listeners and people who want to learn how to podcast on-location or how to use tools to create online content or how to be genuine and sincere and doing everything possible to reach their potential.
If you want to find your voice, speak. If you want to find your passion, create. If you want to move forward, then get going. This is not a competition or audition and there are no rules. Work relentlessly at being the best version of yourself and good things will happen.