After literally two years of wanting to launch a podcast — two years of agonizing over it, reading about it, listening to other shows, believing I could do it (then doubting, then believing again) — 2014 marked the year I finally said screw it and launched my own.
After all that internal angst, when you finally act, there comes a feeling so great, so addicting, that I can only describe it by sharing a quick story. To tell that story, I need to embarrass myself a little bit, but no matter -- we're all friends here on the intertubes. (It's just a series of tubes, you see.)
The Quad Story
As a kid, I had a couple of friends down the street — two brothers — who owned and drove ATVs, though we just called them “the quads.” Every so often, they’d invite a few of us in the neighborhood down the street to ride the quads, and we’d occasionally venture deep into the woods to a dirt track we’d named the Pits. This was a circular trail full of sharp turns, ever-changing branches interrupting your drive, and several buried boulders-turned-ramps for little kids made of rubber.
Each and every time we’d ride the quads, I’d pretend I was super excited to drive one myself, then find a way to “settle” for riding on the back of my friend’s as everyone else took turns driving their own. You see, while I loved playing sports as a kid, my sport of choice (basketball) forbade even a light slap on the wrist. So baseballs hurtling at my face, giant football players trying to run through me, and yes, the Neighborhood Kid Quad Motocross 500 all felt like nonstarters. I avoided the latter every time.
Except for one time.
One time, after hemming and hawing per usual, I said screw it. The internal agonizing felt too great. As soon as I made up my mind, though, I felt immediately, refreshingly confident. The choice was clear: I was going to drive one all by myself. No more would I belabor the decision. I would be my own personal hero in that moment. Quadman. Harry Quadder. The Boy Who Revved.
It was time.
I grabbed a helmet, crammed it tightly onto my head, and marched towards a quad. Sure, I chose the small one typically driven by my friends’ younger brother. And sure, he was maybe four or five years our junior, which is a million years in Little Kid Time. But the fact remained: It was go time! Just as I did with my podcast, I decided to go all Nike up in there.
So I settled onto the cushioned seat. I gripped the handle. I tested the break. I squinted towards the dirt track ahead. I hit the gas. And I … drove straight into a tree.
BUT THAT’S NOT MY POINT!
My point is that, even though I failed gloriously (but safely — I couldn't have gone over 3 miles per hour), I still felt like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I’d come up for air after struggling underwater for too long. I remember it vividly. It felt great. To everyone else, I’d crashed into a tree, prompting laughter that's equal parts angelic and cruel that only little kids can create.
But not from me. I took off my helmet, and I Breakfast Clubbed my way outta there...
I’d done it. Victory was mine!
So what about my podcast?
I finally got sick of that drowning feeling you get when you REALLY want to do something but instead settle for inaction and more TV and emailing. This year will forever be the year I FINALLY said to hell with careful planning. I ponied up $200 on basic equipment, donned my metaphorical helmet, and hit the gas.
In total, I produced three episodes in the latter months of 2014, each causing more agony and Crazy Creative Person Talking to Himself moments than the two prior years of internal debate combined. But it was worth it -- so very worth it. I relished every moment. Because although it was difficult at times, and although I'd chosen a tricky, time-consuming style to my show, I was stumbling and experimenting and crashing my way towards personal growth.
But most of all, I felt like I could breathe again. That feeling was addicting too. I craved more of it. I felt more motivated than ever to create anything and everything. So I blogged more at home, blogged more at work, created more SlideShares, and even tried two basic infographics, along with other content projects.
And yes, three episodes isn't that many. Neither is three miles per hour. But what I’m trying to say, as loudly and directly as I possibly can, is this:
Stop agonizing, stop “wanting to,” stop debating, stop suffocating, and JUST GO CREATE SOMETHING!
Literally everything else gets better when you do.
Have a great, creative, and prolific 2015!
(Note: After my first three shows, I decided to amicably part ways with the nonprofit for which I'd created my podcast. I will be launching a new show in 2015 with a similar emotional arc but different topical focus. Subscribe to Sorry for Marketing to keep up to date with the new show as well as other content. Thanks for reading!)