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9 Life Lessons from Starting a Daily Podcast

Audience So hey—I started a podcast! Yes, it's true: I’m catching up to the technological age of 2005.

And let me tell you: I’m having so much fun. I feel purposeful.

Readers—many of whom are now listeners—are really enjoying it. And best of all, I truly believe it’s going to be helpful to people.

So that’s great! There really is no downside. I’m glad I did this.

But what have I learned? That’s what this 6,500 word post is about. I'll share my own lessons and observations, as well as my early advice for anyone thinking of starting their own podcast.

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Instead of Manufacturing Hype, Just Start Doing Great Work

I got a call to do some filming for a marketing agency in Los Angeles. I had the date open and it sounded interesting, so I decided to go.

The filming took place in a Beverly Hills mansion, probably the largest single-person home I’ve ever been in. On the way in I waved awkwardly to the car valet who was hosing down a Porsche, then said hello to the personal chef chopping vegetables in the kitchen.

All over the studio, which looked a bit like what I’d imagine a porn set to be, there were whiteboards set up with verbal cues. Most of them related to the science of persuasion: scarcity, limited-time offer, feel better about yourself.

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2016 Annual Review: Let’s Look Forward to Big New Things!

In this (very abbreviated) Annual Review series…

I’ve never really had writer’s block. I think it was Seth Godin who said something about how writing is the only profession where it’s acceptable to stop working because you can’t be “creative.” There’s no such thing as nurse's block.

But … for much longer than usual, I didn’t know what to say about my review! I really didn’t.

One thing I know is that it’s important to pay attention to how things make you feel. If you look forward to something, that tells you something. If you dread something, or even if you just don’t feel that excited about it, that gives you other information.

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Why I’ve Resisted My Annual Review for the First Time in 10 Years

I can trace whatever success I’ve had to instituting and diligently following the practice of completing an Annual Review. It’s helped me write books, travel to every country in the world, start various businesses, produce events for thousands of people, and so on. After feeling that my life wasn't well-aligned, I recently added more categories focused on wellness and relationships—that decision helped a lot too.

But for some reason, as this year’s review time rolled around, I felt some resistance to it. I didn’t look forward to it the way I always have in the past.

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If You Can’t Learn Math, Maybe It’s Not Your Fault

My experience in higher education was unusual and erratic. I eventually earned a master’s degree in International Studies, but long before that I was a high-school dropout.

One thing I haven’t talked about much is that I’ve never been able to learn higher math: algebra, geometry, calculus, or anything of the sort. It’s not for lack of trying, or at least it wasn’t for a while. (I have zero interest in trying to learn it these days.)

No, I tried and I just couldn’t learn. I tried over and over and it never got any easier. Lots of people tried to help. I read books and went to study groups. But no matter what I did, it didn’t sink in.

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“How Can We Be More Present?”: Rev. angel Kyodo williams at WDS

Earlier this week we released the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Those tickets are now sold out—join the waiting list to get notice of the next round.

For the past month, we’ve been rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event, and we've finally come down to our closing speaker. Rev. angel Kyodo Williams is an author, activist, master trainer and founder of the Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of transformation and justice since releasing her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace.

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Being Able to Ask “What’s Next?” Is a Sign You Are Happy in Your Work

During the Born for This tour, people would occasionally ask how you know when you have your dream job. It was an easy setup for a joke: “If you have to ask, ‘Am I happy?’ you probably aren’t.”

Still, even when you’re satisfied in your work, it’s nice to get reinforcement of that fact from time to time. There are several big and little signs that can provide that reinforcement:

Here’s another one that I’ve been pondering lately. When you finish a task or project, do you experience a sense of accomplishment—or do you only feel relief?

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“Innovation is learning while doing.”: Emily McDowell at WDS

This past week we released the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon. There are a limited number of tickets left, so grab yours while you can!

For the past month, we’ve been rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Emily McDowell is a writer, illustrator, and entrepreneur who specializes in chronicling the human condition. In 2012, she left a successful career in advertising to launch her greeting card line, making cards for the relationships we actually have.

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How to Buy Plane Tickets on the Same Day of Departure

Have you ever been frustrated when looking for an award ticket with your frequent flyer miles, only to be thoroughly disappointed that almost nothing is available? Chances are, you were looking during the same time period that most people do.

The traditional advice of booking “far, far in advance”—sometimes even 330 days out or whenever the airline releases seats into inventory is incomplete. This does work in some cases. Most of us, though, have absolutely no idea where and exactly when we want to fly an entire year from now. I mean, I don’t even know where I’m flying next week … and even if you’re not as bad as me, planning for specific flights a year into the future is tough.

That’s why you need different ninja skills.

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“Even when something’s gone wrong, you have a chance to hit reset.”: Caroline Webb at WDS

This week (Wednesday, October 12th!) we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Caroline Webb has an extensive background in economics, management consulting, and coaching. She’s currently the CEO of Sevenshift, a firm that shows people how to use insights from behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience to transform the quality of our everyday lives—at work and beyond.

Check out the video to hear her message about how we can use behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience to have a good day!

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Be Careful of Telling Your Origins Story Over and Over

The time came for the interview and I logged into Skype with my headset. After a few minutes of small talk, the host pressed the record button and began with the usual question: “Tell our listeners a little about you… how did you get started?”

It’s a fair question. The only problem is that I’ve answered it over and over—and over and over. Whenever I have a book out, I do at least 50 podcast interviews and usually another 50 radio interviews. At least 30% of the time, this is the first question that’s asked.

When you tell the same story over and over, two things happen. First, you get really good at telling it. You know what to say and how to say it. Second, because you hear the same question and give more-or-less the same answer each time, you rarely deviate from the course.

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“I’m able to embrace every struggle that I’ve had with a spirit of gratitude.”: Zach Anner at WDS

Later this month we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Zach Anner is the author of the comedic memoir If at Birth You Don't Succeed. He is an award-winning comedian, show host, and public speaker who won his own travel show on the Oprah Winfrey Network called "Rollin’ With Zach." He’s also hosted several web series on his YouTube channel, garnering over 13 million hits.

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“The Beauty Is That It Could Fail”: A Real-World Story of Risk

The new host of Prairie Home Companion steps in after forty years of someone else running the show.

Toward the end of the meeting, Thile suggested a new idea. He wanted to perform a live request every week with his new house band. The rules: A minimum of two of the players should have heard the song, but none could have previously played it.

Rowles liked it. Hudson looked wary. Someone else said, “It could fall flat.”

Thile pointed out that its flopping could be entertaining as well: “It’s Evel Knievel.”

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“The key to optimism is how you explain what happens to you.”: Emiliya Zhivotovskaya at WDS

Later this month we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Emiliya Zhivotovskaya is a leading voice in the world of positive psychology and the science of flourishing, as well as a widely sought-after speaker, educator, facilitator and coach.

At the age of 5, Emiliya and her family fled from Kiev, escaping the fall of Communism and the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. Growing up in a foreign country, she faced challenges unknown to the average kid growing up in a New York suburb.

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“The purpose of work is to create.”: Mr. Money Mustache at WDS

Next month we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Pete Adeney, or Mr. Money Mustache as he is most commonly known, retired at the ripe age of 30 in order to start a family. Six years into this new life of his, he realized his peers were still not only stuck in their well-paying jobs, but barely able to meet their ever-increasing lifestyle inflation bills.

Thus, Pete formed the blog Mr. Money Mustache to teach fellow Americans how to live a slightly less ridiculous life than average in order to amass an incredible surplus of money while still young and able to put it to good use. The blog has reached over 16 million people and become a study on life, happiness, and the joy of being able to focus on work that means something to you.

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