Nerd alert! No, not you. Well, maybe not you. Brian lets his nerd flag fly in this episode as he recaps some of his experiences at DragonCon 2015, but there is undoubtedly something for everyone. Whether you’re a nerd of the DragonCon variety, or simply a nerd, or maybe you don’t consider yourself a nerd at all (in which case, I must ask, why not? It’s all the rage), Brian touches on some very critical points that have to do with every podcaster, regardless of your affiliation with nerdery.
I’ve been podcasting for only a couple years. For any who are unaware, I was actually mentored in a pretty remarkable way (the story of that journey can be found here) and I’ve grown and expanded my experience with several different co-hosts since my debut with Darrell Darnell on the TV Talk network. I never did, and still really don’t, consider speaking to be my forte. I like the written word. There is something about sitting with a pen in my hand or a keyboard beneath my fingers that finds words quicker and easier than trying to speak them aloud. Because of this, I didn’t really think of myself as a “passion podcaster”. As I listen to the stories of the guests Brian has on the show and hear the successes of fellow listeners of Profitcast, I point at them and go: there is a passion podcaster.
Brian has asked me several times to consider attending Podcast Movement, and whenever he asks I laugh and retort: “Seriously, what would I do at Podcast Movement?” I don’t edit, I don’t produce, I don’t run my own podcast. All I do is show up when I’m supposed to and talk (seriously, easiest hobby ever). My desire to podcast is only insofar that I can fill my life with things that it lacks, and in my case that’s a community of people who I can really nerd out with (thus, Arrow Squad).
As you can imagine, being friends and working with Brian brings about a lot of conversations and interactions that I really do not get in my day-to-day life. And that’s not just because he’s an over-caffeinated extrovert, it also has to do with his genuine interest in people and commitment to learning that quite literally spills out in every walk of his life. At least, every walk that I’ve had the privilege to witness. Brian is a passion podcaster, because he’s podcasting even when there isn’t a mic in front of him.
But one of the things I’ve started to realize in recent weeks, and particularly after meeting Brian in person, is that while there are degrees of passion, there are not degrees of podcasters. Perhaps there are on a subjective scale, but a person who gets behind the mic on a regular basis and shares that audio with the world is a podcaster. Like everything in life, and especially hobbies, in order to improve we must invest. And by virtue of investing, we either discover an increasing passion or a passive disinterest, in which that hobby is subsequently dropped. Realizing this has made me a little embarrassed by my response to Brian about Podcast Movement and something shifted in my mind. I stopped thinking about myself as an ornament on a podcast and actually part of the podcast and realized that I do have business being at something like Podcast Movement, because podcasting is a hobby and I am invested.
Two years ago, thinking about getting on Skype to record a podcast was absolutely terrifying to me. Sometimes I wouldn’t sleep the night before. I’ve experienced a complete 180, in that now it invigorates me. I look forward to hopping on Skype with Kevin and Brian to record an episode of Arrow Squad because it’s fun. I want to start new podcasts about new shows because it excites me to do more than numbly watch television. Either I’m podcasting about the shows I’m watching, engaging with a podcast, or blogging. But my approach is by no means passive, it’s totally and completely passionate.
So it turns out that I am a passion podcaster!
After DragonCon, and while Brian and I were processing our experiences in the form of extremely long-winded emails, I mentioned to him that I genuinely felt a freedom to be myself around him, something I have experienced so rarely I’ve at times forgotten that I’m not being myself. It’s more than holding back the nerdiest aspects of my personality, or the obnoxious aspects of it, or the eccentric aspects of it, it’s more like protecting the aspects of myself that I don’t want torn down or soiled by the (let’s face it) very abusive society we live in.
Not everyone has this gift, to allow people the ease to be themselves around them, but it is certainly something to strive for. I think in terms of take-aways from this episode of Profitcast, there are significant things we can turn around and examine in a more introspective way. Take a step back from the mic and think about who you are to your co-host(s), your listeners, and your niche. Maybe your gift isn’t encouragement, honestly I don’t think it’s one of mine, but just like when we try to be someone we’re not, trying to exercise gifts that we don’t have can lead us into situations that we’re not prepared for or become uncomfortable with. I can be encouraging, when I think about it and act on it, but it isn’t as natural for me as it is for Brian.
My mission, after listening to this episode, is to identify what my strengths are as a podcaster. Likely, these don’t differ much from my strengths as an individual, but I can see how I might need to apply a few filters on my own strengths to consider them actionable when I get behind the mic. I’m being vague because I’m still in the process of discovery, but essentially the focus here is to embrace what I am good at instead of trying to force the things that are unnatural.
This is a hard task to do completely independently. Like setting goals or an annual review, it starts with a careful examination of yourself, but then it must inevitably be checked against something external. So think through what your strengths are, then find someone you trust and ask to have an open discussion about them. Take your ego out of it and think objectively in such a way that you can recognize raw strengths (as in, the core of what it is, not “I’m good at talking”) and craft your podcast in such a way that can utilize those strengths.
Like Brian, I was impacted very much by the opportunity to interact with members of The Arrow Squad. Because of Twitter and Facebook, it’s a daily thing to get a ping from a listener about something happening either in the Arrow universe or in the community, and having that kind of access to the people who allow you to do what you do is invaluable. We hope that you got something out of our experience, and welcome you to share your own stories about interactions with listeners! These are the stories that inspire us to do what we do.
- Meditation for Beginners, Without the Woo-Woo: A Beginners Guide for the Everyday Person by Clive Smit
- OnTheGo.FM Jason Norris’s education network for life-long learners.
- Podcasters Paradise Podcast
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