Hello friends and welcome to The Midlife. Today I wanted to celebrate the first year anniversary of The Midlife podcast and share with you some thoughts about what I’ve learned in my first year as a podcaster.
First off, it feels a little ridiculous to give myself that job title because it wasn’t entirely what I set out to do. I can tell you that in so many weird ways, starting this podcast was one of the least intentional things I’ve ever done. Really, I just sort of woke up one day and said I have this experience, I have this message, I’m helping women one on one, maybe this message will be meaningful to more women than just my little circle.
Around November 2019, my alma mater The University of Texas, hook em horns!, was hosting a program about podcasting here in Los Angeles. If all that seems super random, you’re not far off. One of my degrees is from the Communication school Radio-Television-Film and the LA alumni association was hosting this event because, ya know, Hollywood and all. Barf.
So I dragged this friend of mine, shout out to Mansi, to come with me because she and I have talked on and off about starting a podcast. We figure our conversations are so interesting to us, that they’d be interesting to you too. Seriously, they would. Mansi is the rare friendship today where you can have deep intellectual conversations around touchy issues, have a difference of opinion and still love each other. Stay tuned, we’re still thinking about it except we’re both afraid of death threats.
The program was inspiring and I had two big takeaways. One, this isn’t rocket science and two, this is not a money making venture unless you are Joe Rogan.
The idea of some kind of podcast simmered for many months. I had also considered starting a podcast with a very funny friend of mine. We were really close to making that a reality until he told his wife, also my friend, that he wanted a divorce during their 20th anniversary dinner. As a rule, I’d rather not, but sometimes, you do have to pick a side.
And then one day I woke up with the inspiration to start The Midlife podcast. Really, it was just like that. A decision that was a non-decision. I guess I’ll have oatmeal for breakfast and also, I guess I’ll start a podcast with the intent of normalizing Midlife Crisis and showing women a path to live the single greatest chapter of their lives just when they think it’s all done for.
When you start a podcast, you need to record 3 episodes and upload them all to be approved by Apple podcasts. So in a matter of about a two weeks, I recorded 3 episodes, taught myself how to edit, made my little intro jingle all by myself and sent them on their way. That was the last time I had any episodes “in the can” so to speak. I thought it was going to be some long, drawn out process to be approved. I had read where it could take up to a month for approval and I thought that would give me a good cushion to write some more episodes. But nope! I was approved in 48 hours.
What ensued thereafter was a mad scramble to consistently create meaningful, relevant content and deliver it to you weekly on Wednesday mornings come hell or highwater. Or baseball games or feeding the family or plans with the in-laws. I think about that often and hope that the following will elicit in you the same panic inducing anxiety that I have every week. I am a grown-up and I have purposely assigned myself the weekly homework of writing what is essentially a research paper. Honestly, isn’t that the number one thing you were looking forward to never having to do again when you left school?
In retrospect, no one knew I had a podcast and I could have just kept recording and uploading episodes and announced a month or more later. But no. I don’t naturally think that way. I had set this project in motion and I jumped in enthusiastically or insanely depending on how you look at it.
So a little window into my process. I do write out my podcast every week for a host of reasons. One, I want to spare you from tuning in weekly to hear me ramble. My mission with this podcast is for you to hear at least one actionable idea that you can incorporate in your day-to-day to improve your life. I am methodical in my thinking, but not always my talking so I carefully plan out the points I want to make. It’s extra work, but I think it’s worth it.
I did have someone tell a friend of mine that she could tell I’m reading and that I’m clearly not an actress. Man that made me laugh. No, I’m not an actress. Like who would I be acting like? I’m real. These are my words and my thoughts. Gotta love the haters. So if you ever wondered, yes I write it first and no, I don’t believe that gets you disqualified from podcasting. Mostly because nothing can get you disqualified from podcasting. More on that later.
I have podcast ideas often and almost exclusively when I’m nowhere near paper to write them down. But I did create a little system of sticky notes that I litter throughout my house to capture my nascent ideas. Then every month or so, I collect all those sticky notes, try to decipher my handwriting and why in the hell I thought THAT was such a revolutionary thought and I create a calendar of episodes going out about 3 months. I don’t think I’ve stuck to the calendar even once. Oh eventually I get around to the various topics and often I end up combining ideas, but I really rely on what feels inspiring in the moment.
I have to say, that’s something really fun about working for yourself. Sure it requires tremendous discipline but it also affords maximum flexibility. I think if you are going to do anything in your life that requires creativity, you have to be flexible. Sometimes the thoughts just aren’t there. And too often, they are not there until Tuesday crunch time.
There have been many a Tuesday that I am still writing. Then I have to record, edit, create the social media posts to let you know the episode is available and upload it to my podcast host to be distributed to all the podcast channels like apple, amazon, google, iheart radio etc. If you’re wondering, yes it’s tuesday June 1st as I’m recording this. So see that, we all have room for improvement and my goal, I’m stating it right here right now, is that next year when I give you the update, I can tell you I’m at least a month ahead at a time.
It’s not so much a matter of procrastination as it is just creative blocks. I will share with you that I am super proud of myself that I ended up producing 53 episodes in 52 weeks. The most listened episode is Episode #1, “Is It a Midlife Crisis?”. It has been downloaded at least once a day since its release so I optimistically interpret that to mean that new people are finding The Midlife everyday and listening from the beginning.
As long as we’re talking numbers, I’m also very excited to tell you that May saw the most downloads in a single month. I can only attribute that to your continued listening and sharing with friends and I really can’t tell you how much I truly appreciate that. It is a super isolating, and frankly pretty self-centered thing to do. To sit down and record your thoughts on a subject and send it out into the abyss with the hope that people are listening. Serioulsy, when I stop to think about it I really wonder what the fuck I was thinking. Can I just say again, thank you for indulging me and being on the other end here. I take it very seriously that your time is valuable and I strive to make this worthwhile for you to give you every reason to keep coming back.
The most gratifying thing about this podcast has been the feedback I’ve gotten from all of you. Sure it’s great for the ego to see a new rating or read a new public review. I know those reviews on apple podcasts are important because it does make a difference to someone skimming for something new to listen to to hear how other people are enjoying The Midlife.
But what really has been special and overwhelming and maybe even shocking is the emails I get almost on a weekly basis from women. I am humbled to hear that this weekly little show is making a difference for people and I do not take it lightly that somehow I have shown you I’m trustworthy enough for you to share your personal thoughts with me. I know you’ve heard me say you can email me. If you’ve thought about something you wanted to say and then stopped yourself, please know I respond to every email I receive.
I would like to share some thoughts on the medium of podcasting itself. The power of the interwebs is spectacular. With little financial investment and virtually no barriers to entry, you can bring your voice to the public, whether you seek to entertain or educate or in my case, hopefully, both. I will tell you that there are people making millions of dollars selling courses to people that they absolutely do not need about how to start a podcast. Honestly, this is not rocket science. Way back when I went to the podcast program from UT, I met a woman who was recording a podcast interview show directly onto her iphone and it sounded great. If you’ve thought about having a podcast, just do it. Ignore all the blogs that overcomplicate the process. Just start recording. Like I said before, you can’t be disqualified from podcasting.
I will share with you my biggest pet peeve so far in this experience over the last year is people or their podcast promoters reaching out to me to be on The Midlife. Episode 19, “It’s Not Just Who You Know” was about networking and all I have learned about successful networking not only in my professional financial career but now with The Midlife. If you haven’t heard it, I can boil down the secret to networking with the Zig Ziglar quote “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” I am stunned by the number of people seeking to borrow you, my audience, to sell to without offering some true value of insight or knowledge and at a minimum, at least offer to promote my podcast with their audience.
My favorite was the woman who offered to come teach you, my audience, about how to navigate midlife crisis. That was her exact pitch. Um, at least listen to ONE of my episodes before you pitch. So know that when I schedule a Re•Invented episode, I have at least 5 requests for that spot and that I truly believe you will find the woman I interview interesting and inspiring and that a minimum, she has offered kindly to share her episode with her people to help bring more women to The Midlife community.
As for what’s up for the next year of The Midlife podcast? Upcoming interviews include a genealogist and a Broadway producer. Also, Tyler, my 9 year old is dying to come on the podcast. I may do that in the next couple of weeks. I don’t even know what he wants to talk about or what he thinks happens on the podcast. We’ll all find out together. As for the things I’ll be teaching you, we’ll see. All sorts of ideas line my calendar but as I’ve confessed, I don’t know what I’ll be inspired to talk about. With that said, if there’s a topic you’d like to hear about, shoot me an email.
Today’s episode is on the shorter side and that’s something funny I’ve gotten feedback about too. People have complained to me that the episodes are short. Actually I don’t know if “complained” is fair. I guess they’ve just pointed it out and it makes me feel a little badly.
Here’s my take on that. First of all, I personally have a compact attention span. I won’t say short because I can and will focus for as long as something is interesting. I say what I say and I say it as directly as I can. Why the hell would you want to hear me drone on for longer than necessary to hear what you need to hear. I hope to be brief, yet detailed, giving you digestible and actionable information and then have you go on your merry way having a brighter day. I’ve decided it’s a compliment that people are asking for more. I just don’t want to waste your time with unnecessary filler. I don’t resonate with people who spew a lot of words for the sake of volume and I guess you don’t either or you wouldn’t be here.
So that’s the skinny on year 1 of The Midlife podcast. I cannot stress this enough to you. Thank you so much for tuning in. You keep me thinking and writing and dedicated to that weekly release. I hope to bring you ever better content in the next year and I optimistically look forward to bringing you the Year 2 recap next June.