My podcast was approved by iTunes today! Since I experienced quite a number of emotional highs and lows going through the process, I wanted to share some thoughts. I know I’m not the first person to be afraid of putting myself out there. Heck, even author Susan Cain had doubts about writing, saying “it took [her] thirty years to realize [her] childhood dream of becoming a writer, mostly because [she] was afraid to write about personal things” yet those were the subjects she was drawn to.
Recording and then editing my voice was much harder than I thought it would be. I have spoken in front of so many people in my life for my career that when I read Paul L. Witt, PhD, assistant professor of communication studies at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth say, “It is even scarier than rattlesnakes,” Witt tells WebMD. “The idea of making a presentation in public is the No. 1 fear reported by people in the U.S.” I could hardly believe it. I mean…it’s just speaking, and we’re all human beings, no big deal right?! Wrong. I do have two guesses as to why some people are so uncomfortable; either they haven’t done it enough, or they don’t know what to say. I don’t remember having fears about public speaking, but recently learned I was scared of private speaking…podcasting that is.
The second I heard myself recorded I started comparing myself to podcasts I listen often. Big mistake! The podcasts I listen to like WTF with Marc Maron, or The Psych Files with Michael Britt PhD, make podcasting sound like they’re just talking to a friend and a microphone happens to be in the room. I don’t hear “umm” or “ ahhhh” or any long pause for that matter. And posssssssibly it’s because it’s edited out, but a smarter assumption is that they have gotten the “speaking into a microphone” thing down with all of their hundreds of episodes. The bottom line is that I can only hope to accomplish half of what they’ve done, but if that’s all I focus on (the comparison) I’ll never put myself or my material out in to the world. I’ll be frozen from the anxiety and the overwhelming-ness of it all.
It’s kind of hard for me to admit right now that I haven’t mastered podcasting, or blogging, or this online forum yet. I want to someday, and I think I will, but those things don’t translate into tangible results NOW. I think a huge reason people put off what they want to do entirely is because they’re scared to try. If they try, they might fail, and then what? Right now I’m past being afraid I’ll fail; I’m struggling with being afraid I’ll try to over perfect everything; and there just aren’t enough hours in the day for that behavior. I want my podcast to sound the best it possibly can, have the most engaging content possible, have the most beautiful logo on iTunes, and rank #1 in the downloads, but I have to manage my own expectations. If someone I knew and loved was starting out, it wouldn’t matter what their logo looked like, or if there was room for improvement in their speech…if they set their mind to do something, and did it, I’d be thrilled for them. Why can’t I be that happy for myself?
I guess because this self-professed overachiever sometimes has her goals out of control and unfocused. It’s important I remember to keep operational goals small; if I keep goals like producing podcast’s small and achievable, I’ll give myself more opportunities for reward. Reward is exactly what the brain needs to keep going and not stop with the project ahead. If my original goal was to make “iTunes Top 10” after going live day 1, it is obviously too large and therefore it will never feel as if I’m making progress towards it. I know that the answer to quell my fears & anxiety is to keep doing what I’m doing….produce content I believe in (and believe with help others), seek advice from those that have experience, and take everything one day at a time. Naturally I’ll become better & better and it will be easier & easier. I also can’t lose sight of the fact that I’m battling a difficult pain condition and there are days where giving it 110% just isn’t possible. I plan to have an entire other post or podcast dedicated to “pacing” so I won’t dig into that subject right now, but I am taking it with a grain of salt that I can’t burn myself out now, because the results I get won’t be sustainable. How many of you are guilty of that? … Yea, I thought so, too many.
I hope whatever project you’re working on is going well, and may I suggest that if there is one you’ve been keeping on the back-burner (afraid it won’t be good enough), that you take it off & put it into the world. Don’t let your toughest critic kill it before it even had a chance. Who knows what would be possible if we were all able to do so…
Sending you healing vibes,